Taiwan to hold live-fire artillery drills to test combat readiness
Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) Taiwan's Army will conduct live-fire artillery drills in Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday to test combat readiness in response to recent Chinese live-fire military exercises surrounding Taiwan, a source familiar with the matter said Sunday.
The planned drills at Fenggang in the southern Taiwan county will involve the firing of 78 155mm self-propelled howitzers and six 120mm mortars, and will be carried out by the 8th Army Corps' 43rd Artillery Command and 333rd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the defense commands in Hualien and Taitung counties in eastern Taiwan, and the coast guard, according to the source.
In addition, the Army will conduct its annual exercise on Sept. 5, also in Pingtung, involving snipers from combined arms battalions, combat vehicles, Clouded Leopard armored vehicles, and mortars.
The Army's AH-1W Super Cobra and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters will also be deployed during the exercise, according to the source.
The Pingtung drills come after China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) began four days of live-fire drills in six maritime areas around Taiwan last Thursday.
That day the PLA fired 11 Dongfeng missiles into waters near the island, in apparent retaliation for a 19-hour visit to Taiwan by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi early last week.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late last Tuesday, ignoring warnings and threats by China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and opposes any official interactions that imply otherwise.
Pelosi's stopover, part of a wider tour of Asia, made the 82-year-old California Democrat the first sitting U.S. House speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997.
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