Chinese Taipei has conducted a live-fire military exercise to test the combat readiness of the self-ruled Island’s troops and the firepower of its armored divisions, in a show of force amid heightened tensions with Beijing.
Chinese Taipei’s army carried out the live ammunition military drill at Kengzikou Training Center in northwestern Hsinchu County on Tuesday, during which two platoons of battle tanks opened fire at mock invading forces from the sea.
Taipei has compiled a budget of about US$1.45 billion to purchase 108 M1A2T battle tanks from the United States to add to its 1,000 tanks already in service.
According to Chinese Taipei’s National Defense Ministry, the army has planned to build two tank training facilities in Hsinchu County next year as it is scheduled to receive the new American tanks from 2024 to 2026.
The drill came a day after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the need for Taipei to be reunited with Beijing, saying the self-ruled island is "not a chess piece to be used by others."
Wang said the root cause of the new round of tensions across the Taiwan Strait lied with the island’s authorities that have attempted to solicit US support for "Taiwan independence" and the United States and certain countries that have deliberately used Taipei to contain Beijing.
China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island but has long courted Taipei in defiance of Beijing.
The United States, which backs Taipei’s secessionist president, also continues to sell weapons to the island in violation of its own stated policy.