Taiwan war game simulates attack from China

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The Associated Press
Published: June 23, 2008

TAIPEI, Taiwan: Taiwan began Monday its annual computer-simulated war game that anticipates an invasion by China, despite warming ties between the island and its mainland rival.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense Spokeswoman Lisa Chi said the Hankuang war game will last five days, but she declined to offer further details. Hankuang means Chinese glory.

Major General Huang Kun-tsung, director of military training affairs, said in March the computer-simulated war game, like past ones, will focus on the Chinese military threat to Taiwan. He said there will also be extensive military exercises in September.

Taiwan's United Daily News and Apple Daily both reported Monday that the computer simulation this year presents a scenario, set in 2009, in which Taiwan loses its air and naval defense to Chinese troops one day after the invasion. The scenario envisions the Taiwan military battling Chinese invaders on the ground, according to the reports.

The newspaper reports also said Ma will participate in the war game for the first time as commander in chief.

 According to Taiwan's defense ministry, the 2007 scenario simulated a sudden invasion in 2012, with the attack led by the Chinese air force. That war game focused on air and naval encounters between the two sides in which Taiwan managed to preserve most of its personnel and military equipment while having difficulties deterring Chinese submarines.

The 24th annual war game begins one month after the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou, who has promised to improve long-strained ties with rival China and seek the signing of a peace accord.

Under Ma, Taiwan has resumed formal talks with China earlier this month after a hiatus of almost ten years. During the talks, the two sides have reached an agreement on expanded charter flights and tourism.

Taiwan and China split during civil war in 1949. Beijing continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory, and threatens to attack if the island moves to make the break permanent.

The tense relations were especially strained in the past eight years when former President Chen Shui-bian was in power in Taiwan. Chen often enraged China with his strong support for formal independence.