Taiwanese fighter jets landed on a makeshift runway on a stretch of highway as the island’s annual military drills peaked.
President Tsai Ing-wen, who has promised modernize The Taiwanese Army saw the exhibit on Wednesday.
China has been increasing pressure on the autonomous territory, hoping to force the democratically elected government to accept Beijing’s sovereignty, including with repeated exercises near Taiwan.
Tsai, re-elected as overwhelming last year in her commitment to take on China, has said she aims to turn Taiwan’s armed forces, mainly equipped by the United States, into a “porcupine”, highly mobile and difficult to attack.
Three fighters, an F-16, a French-made Mirage and a Taiwanese Ching-kuo fighter, plus an E-2 Hawkeye early warning aircraft landed in the southern rural county of Pingtung on a specially designed stretch of road. and flat for quick conversion of a highway to an airstrip.
“Such splendid combat skills and fast and real actions come from solid daily training and also demonstrate the confidence of the ROC Air Force in defending its airspace,” Tsai wrote on Facebook, referencing the formal name. from Taiwan.
Taiwan has five emergency highway lanes across the island, which can be put into service in the event of a Chinese attack on its air force bases.
Most of Taiwan’s air bases lie on its flat west coast, facing China, and would likely come under heavy missile and aerial bombardment almost immediately in the event of war.
Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is home to two other air bases, with perches embedded deep into the rock for more robust protection.
The week-long Han Kuang drills are taking place around Taiwan, with other exercises to practice how to repel a Chinese invasion, protect critical infrastructure, and night operations, although road drills are the most dramatic.
Military police in the Taipei area were also dispatched around midnight Wednesday to respond to a simulated assault on key telecommunications facilities in the capital, according to the Taipei Times.
The Taiwanese air force has been revolted almost daily to intercept Chinese aircraft flying into the island’s air defense zone, mainly near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the northern part of the disputed South China Sea.
Earlier this month, Taiwan reported that 19 Chinese military aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, entered its southwestern airspace.
The Ministry of National Defense said so tracked Chinese aircraft as they flew to their air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and issued radio warnings to crews.
The group included four H-6 bombers, 10 J-16 fighter jets, and four Sukhoi SU-30 jets. A Y-8 airborne early warning and transport aircraft was also part of the raid.
China has not commented on the flight, the biggest sortie since June 15 when at least 28 Chinese air force planes, including nuclear-capable fighters and bombers, entered the ADIZ.
In July, neighboring Japan warned that rising military tensions around Taiwan could threaten peace and stability in East Asia in its annual defense report.
This was the first time that the Japanese report addressed the issue of stability on the island.
“China has further intensified military activities around Taiwan, including Chinese aircraft entering southwestern Taiwan airspace,” the report said in its new section on Taiwan.
“Meanwhile, the United States has shown a clear stance of support for Taiwan in military matters, such as the transits of American ships through the Taiwan Strait and the sale of weapons.”
“Therefore, we need to pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever,” he said.