In simulated scenes, a hostile enemy attempts to seize control of a key waterway close to the Taiwanese capital. Attacking from sea and air, the invading forces target the mouth of the Tamsui River on the island’s northern coast – a strategic estuary that provides direct access to the center of Taipei.
In response, Taiwan’s military scrambles Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) jets and tanks, while ground troops detonate explosives to stop the advancement.
The scenes are part of the week-long Han Kuang exercises held across Taiwan and its outlying islands until Friday. The annual event has been running since 1984 and involves all branches of Taiwan’s military – including its reserve forces – in an effort to boost overall defense capabilities.
This year, the drills have taken on a greater significance amid growing concerns over China’s intentions towards Taiwan – a self-governing island that Beijing’s ruling Communist Party claims as its own.
Those concerns have been sharpened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to take control of Taiwan and has been putting growing military pressure on the island by sending aircraft into its self-declared air defense identification zone.
Beijing has also reacted sternly to reports that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a trip to Taipei, warning that China’s military would “resolutely defend national sovereignty” if faced with “external forces” encouraging Taiwanese independence.