Taiwan conducts more live-fire drills in recent years: minister
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Taiwan has conducted more military exercises and live-fire drills in recent years to strengthen the country's defense capabilities, Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said Monday in denying accusations that President Ma Ying-jeou has neglected the country's security.
Since Ma took office in May 2008, he has paid special attention to defense affairs and has asked the Ministry of National Defense to strengthen its military training, Kao said.
Compared with the past, the ministry has now doubled the number of exercises and of live-fire drills, Kao said in response to criticism that Ma was on a 12-day visit to Taiwan's African allies at the start of the Han Kuang series of exercises, the country's most important war games.
"During his visit to Africa, the president was very concerned about the exercises," Kao told the media, shortly after a ceremony unveiling a refurbished military aircraft at a military training base in Taichung.
The president also visited a command center in Taipei on April 18 after returning from Africa and watched a drill in northern Taiwan on April 20, the final day of the five-day Han Kuang exercises, Kao said.
In response to criticism over the exclusion of live ammunition in the Han Kuang exercises, Kao reiterated that the exercises were held to test the effectiveness of military personnel in carrying out war plans in the event of an attack.
Since 2008, the ministry has excluded live ammunition from the Han Kuang war games. Live-fire drills have been staged in other war games during the year, the ministry said.
(By Elaine Hou)
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