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Taiwan holds 1st large, live-fire drill in 5 years


12:09 PM April 17th, 2013

April 17th, 2013 12:09 PM

Taiwan’s Kuang Hua VI-class missile boats launch HF-2 anti-ship missiles during Han Kuang military exercises in Penghu county, Taiwan, April. 17. AP

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Taiwan has held its first large-scale live-fire military exercise in five years, as President Ma Ying-jeou called on soldiers to maintain their “sense of crisis” as China builds up its military.

Ma oversaw Wednesday’s drill personally. Soldiers aided by frigates and F-16 jet fighters repelled a simulated Chinese invasion on the offshore island of Penghu.

The president told the troops that Taiwan must reinforce its defenses to build a credible deterrent in the face of cascading defense expenditures from Beijing.

Relations across the Taiwan Strait are the best since Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. But Beijing still claims the democratic island and threatens to use force if Taiwan moves to make its de facto independence permanent.

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