JIADONG, Taiwan (AP) – Four military fighters by Taiwanese forces landed on a highway amid pineapple crops on Wednesday, refueled and took off shortly after, in full view of President Tsai Ing-wen and the media. . The maneuver was part of a five-day military exercise designed to prepare the island’s forces for a possible attack by China, which claims Taiwan as part of its own territory.
The Taiwanese exercise Han Guang was designed with the hypothesis of a Chinese attack against the main airfields of the island, which would force the use of other roads, such as highways, to be able to defend itself.
War is not imminent, but as China has become increasingly assertive in the East and South China Seas, Taiwan is stepping up its defense. Across the region, the United States and its allies are deepening military cooperation and developing strategies for an effective response.
China flies military jets to Taiwan on a regular basis, in an apparent attempt to warn and intimidate the island’s air force. Last month, Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine jets and combat ships conducted joint assault drills near Taiwan. Beijing claimed that the exercise was necessary to safeguard its sovereignty.
US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a meeting next week with the main regional players that make up the so-called “Quad” (India, Australia and Japan, along with the United States) for in-person conversations that he said the White House, seek to show the North American commitment to “promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Japan is an ally of the United States and on its soil it houses the Seventh Fleet of the North American Navy. Tokyo has long acted cautiously towards China, which is a major trading partner, but has recently become less secretive in the face of growing military activity from Beijing and broad territorial claims in the western Pacific, including a nearby island group. of Taiwan that Japan controls.
Wu reported from Taipei and Yamaguchi from Tokyo. Associated Press investigator Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.
Photo provided by the Presidency of Taiwan, showing President Tsai Ing-wen (second from right) watching a fighter take off in Jiadong, Taiwan, on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (Taiwan Presidency via AP)