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Taiwan's annual Han Kuang exercises affected by rain

2012/04/16 21:29:08

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) Taiwan's armed forces kicked off their annual large-scale military war games around the country on Monday, but some planned exercises were canceled due to bad weather, according to military officials.

On the first day of Taiwan's most important war games involving the Army, Air Force and Navy, exercises were staged in northern and southern Taiwan.

A drill in which the Army attempted to fight off opposing forces was held on the Danshui River in New Taipei in northern Taiwan, but the scheduled participation of AW-1H and OH-58D helicopters was called off due to the heavy rain, army officials said.

Earlier in the day, a maneuver in Kaohsiung in the south incorporated mine-sweeping and mine-hunting vessels and a 500MD/ASW helicopter, officials said.

The five-day Han Kuang exercises will see more than 200,000 military personnel practice innovative, asymmetrical tactics and use them to attempt to fight off simulated invasions by Chinese forces, the Ministry of National Defense said recently.

Five of the round-the-clock drills will be opened to the media, certain private groups and legislators in the coming week, ministry officials said.

This year's exercises will not include live ammunition, sparking criticism in the media, but the ministry said in a statement Monday that live-ammunition exercises are planned for another time of the year.

Many factors, such as regional safety and traffic control in air and maritime spaces, must be taken into account in arranging live-fire drills, it said.

The exclusion of live ammunition in the Han Kuang war games was to ensure that participating personnel could focus fully on the military exercises, the statement said, adding that the lack of live fire would not affect the effectiveness of the drills in testing Taiwan's defense and combat capabilities.

(By Elaine Hou)