Taiwan holds 'regular' air defense drill
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) Taiwan's military carried out an island wide air defense exercise on Wednesday morning, which the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said was part of annual drills aimed at familiarizing troops with air defense combat and related rapid response operations.
The military exercise, code named "Lian Hsiang," began at 6 a.m. and involved all air defense forces from the Army, Air Force and Navy, according to the MND.
Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) confirmed the exercise when answering questions from reporters before attending a hearing of the legislative Foreign and National Defense Committee. He stressed that military forces need to be combat ready and such drills are an integral part of their training.
Asked if the exercise was held in response to two training missions conducted by China's military forces over the past two weeks that involved aircraft circling outside Taiwan's air space, Feng denied such speculation, saying the "Lian Hsiang" drill was conducted every three months.
"This time, the timing is coincidental," Feng said, explaining that the exercise had long been planned for Wednesday as part of the military's annual training schedule.
The minister did not disclose how many troops were mobilized for the drill.
The Lian Hsiang exercise is designed to increase pubic confidence in the military's capabilities, Feng said, "we have to ensure troops are familiar with the required combat skills and let the public know the military is always prepared. Fighter jets are engaged in ongoing exercises throughout the year."
(By Lu Hsin-hui and Elizabeth Hsu)
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