News / Asia

Taiwan Begins Largest Military Drills Since 2008

Taiwanese military's M60A3 Patton tanks fire during Han Kuang military exercises in Penghu county, Taiwan, April 17, 2013.
Taiwanese military's M60A3 Patton tanks fire during Han Kuang military exercises in Penghu county, Taiwan, April 17, 2013.
VOA News
Taiwan has begun five days of large-scale military exercises meant to demonstrate its ability to defend itself against any attack from mainland China.

The annual drill in the Taiwan Strait includes a test of the Thunderbolt-2000 multiple rocket launch system designed to take out enemy ships before they reach shore. Tanks, artillery, and attack helicopters also pounded mock targets at sea during the war games.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who has overseen a warming of relations with Beijing, is personally overseeing the live-fire drills. Speaking to troops beforehand, he said the drills are a reminder of the threat of a rising China.

"China's economy has grown rapidly in recent years and they have been busy upgrading their military. Therefore, we have to strengthen our defense forces to prevent China's threats and maintain peace and stability between Taiwan and China," he said.

The drills, involving Taiwan's air force, army and navy, are the largest since 2008. They are taking place on the Penghu Islands, roughly midway between mailand China and the island of Taiwan.

They come just a day after China released its annual defense white paper, which called Taiwan's independence the "biggest threat to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations."

Taiwan and China have been separated since 1949, when Mao Zedong's communist forces drove Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists off the mainland. Bejing continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory, and has vowed to bring the self-ruled island back under its rule, by force if necessary.

But Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has worked to improve diplomatic and trade ties between the cross-Strait rivals since taking office in 2008. He was re-elected to a second and final four-year term in January 2012.
  • An AH-1W attack helicopter launches flares during Han Kuang military exercises in Penghu county, Taiwan, April 17, 2013.
  • Taiwan held its first large-scale live-fire military exercise in five years, as President Ma Ying-jeou called on soldiers to maintain their "sense of crisis" as China builds up its military.
  • Rockets are fired from Thunderbolt 2000 multi-rocket launchers during Han Kuang military exercises in Penghu county, Taiwan, April 17, 2013.
  • A Scout helicopter launches missiles during Han Kuang military exercises in Penghu county, Taiwan, April 17, 2013. 

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs