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The military of Taiwan has staged exercises aimed at simulating an air attack by mainland China. The drill comes as the military power balance in the region is under close international scrutiny.
Taiwan's jet fighters roared about the island's skies, simulating responses to invasions by Chinese aircraft. In part, the drill simulated the use of emergency runways to be used in case air bases had been destroyed.
[Chen Kuo-hua, Taiwanese Air Force Officer]:
"In today's scenarios, we assume that most of Taiwan's military air bases are severely damaged by the enemy's guided missile attacks, the fighter jets cannot go back to the home bases."
China's communist regime has claimed Taiwan as its own since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and vowed to bring the island under its rule, by force if necessary. Recent years seem to have led to reduced tensions--but military strategists and political leaders still commonly refer to the possibility of full-scale war.
Taiwan is currently negotiating large-scale purchases of improved military hardware from the United States. The US has not yet approved a full-scale upgrade of Taiwan's current F-16A/B fighters to the F-16C/D model, which would significantly enhance Taiwan's defense capacity.