Taiwan tests air defences in early morning missile drills

By Thomson Reuters Mar 25, 2024 | 7:41 PM

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan tested its air defences on Tuesday in early morning drills using surface-to-air missiles, and air, land and naval forces, saying it would continue to intensify training in the face of China’s frequent military activities nearby.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained over the past four years of repeated instances of Chinese air force aircraft and navy ships operating close to and around the island.

Taiwan’s air force command said in a brief statement that between 5 a.m. (2100 GMT) and 7 a.m. it had carried out “overall air defence combat plan exercises” using domestically made Sky Bow and U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles in conjunction with aircraft and navy ships.

The drills were “to inspect and verify the joint air defence combat command and control of the three branches”, it said, adding that the outcome was “good”.

“In the face of Chinese aircraft and ships frequently encroaching into Taiwan’s surrounding sea and air space, the air force will continue to increase its training intensity to deal with potential threats,” the air force said.

Taiwan’s government rejects China’s territorial claims, saying only the island’s people can decide their future.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard. Editing by Gerry Doyle)