000 military personnel, hundreds of tanks and fighter jets. A show of force from Taiwan on Thursday, fighting off a simulated invasion of the island nation. As for who might attack Taiwan, they left it at an unnamed aggressor. However, tension between Taiwan and its arch rival China has been on the rise this year.
This is an annual exercise for the military, but this year they've upped the ante. They're showcasing civilian-operated drones for the first time for surveillance on the battlefield. And President Tsai Ing-wen made things clear when she said as long as the armed forces are around, Taiwan will surely be around.
Reuters Ben Blanchard says Taiwan was also testing out some new tactics.>> The most interesting thing that the
exercises today were that they were simulating battlefield repairs for air fields. One of the big fears that Taiwanese military planners have had is that in the event of an attack by the Chinese, they would just simply come over, blanket bomb the Taiwanese air fields, which would mean that the Taiwanese air force would simply not be able to take off.
>> China claims Taiwan as its own, considering the island a wayward province of a one China. In recent months, Beijing's performed its own military maneuvers near the island.>> The Chinese air force has been carrying out a series of what they call encirclement drills around Taiwan. Taiwanese air force has been scrambling its fighter jets, has been shadowing these air craft.
But definitely at this period Taiwan is wanting to show the rest of the world, and of course wanting to show China, that it has very capable forces, that it has very modern forces.>> Taiwan's also said its eager to take part in a major US hosted navel drill named the Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii later this month.
RIMPAC, as it's known, is the biggest national maritime exercise. Taiwan's request to join is a move that's certain to anger Beijing. The US recently withdrew China's own invitation to take part.