Taiwan aims to use lessons from Russia-Ukraine conflict in annual Han Kuang war game

·3-min read

Taiwan will test the combat capability and the readiness of its forces to fight off an attack from mainland China in its annual Han Kuang war game, which starts next month.

Drawing lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war, its military will focus on testing the effectiveness of its asymmetric warfare in dealing with the more powerful People’s Liberation Army, according to the defence ministry.

It will also test all-out defence readiness after the invasion of Ukraine highlighted the importance of incorporating the regular armed forces, reservists and civilian forces in dealing with the enemy, Major General Lin Wen-huang, director of joint operations under the military’s planning office, said.

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“The 38th edition of the Han Kuang drill will be divided into two stages, with the first being held on May 16-20 followed by a live-fire drill to be held on July 25-29,” Lin told a news conference in Taipei on Wednesday.

Instead of using the previous computerised simulation method, Lin said May’s war game would be held in the form of map exercise it allows generals to meet face-to-face to discuss strategy, which is better than using computers.

The military will then stage the live-fire drills in July based on the result of the simulation analyses, he said.

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Lin said the military will also test the effectiveness of local forces in dealing with cognitive warfare launched by Beijing and mobilising reserve forces in working with civilian forces, including police, firefighters and volunteers, to form an all-out defence against the PLA in the event of a cross-strait conflict.

Military tactics to be tested include eliminating invading forces at sea and along the coastline; preserving combat forces for a counter-attack; and air, sea and homeland resistance, Lin said, adding the island’s coastguard would also be involved.

Military officials said portable Javelin and Stinger missiles, which have played an important role in destroying Russian tanks during the Ukraine war were expected to be used, while military drones will also be employed to test the island’s asymmetric warfare operation.

The island has been on alert for a potential attack by the People’s Liberation Army since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There have been concerns that the PLA might seize the opportunity while the US is focused on Ukraine.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

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On Wednesday, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, criticised the island’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party for trying to use an “outside force” to split the island from the mainland.

He also mocked Taiwan for staging the Han Kuang war game “whose scale and level is so inferior that even a non-professional like him would not care about it at all.”

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