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DEFENSE/Taiwan military extends tabletop war games phase of Han Kuang drills

04/09/2024 04:56 PM
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A Han Kuang drill is being carried out in this CNA file photo.
A Han Kuang drill is being carried out in this CNA file photo.

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) Taiwan's military announced Tuesday that the tabletop war games phase of this year's Han Kuang series of military exercises will be extended to eight days from the previous five.

The 40th edition of Han Kuang will be held in two stages, with the tabletop war games phase to be held from April 19 to 26 before the live-fire exercise component from July 22-26, according to Major General Tung Chi-Hsing (董冀星), who is in charge of planning at the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The computerized war games will be conducted using the U.S.-built Joint Theater Level Simulation (JTLS) platform to verify the military's response to gray-zone tactics, blockades and other possible Chinese invasion scenarios, Tung told a briefing.

Those simulations will be held around the clock for eight days in a row, he added.

Lessons learned from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict will also be incorporated in war games and live-fire drills in Han Kuang this year, Tung said.

The drills will incorporate how to counter cognitive warfare and how to mobilize reserve forces to conduct asymmetrical warfare against the enemy, according to Tung.

Tung told reporters that the tabletop phase had been lengthened to give the military more time to simulate responsive measures following an invasion with a higher level of command, and with swift increased troops and deployment to key positions.

The last time the tabletop war games phase lasted for eight days was in 2021.

Meanwhile, the live-fire component of Han Kuang exercises, involving all military branches as well as the All-out Defense Mobilization Agency in charge of reserve and civilian defense, will be held nationwide for five days in July.

According to Tung, some of the key focuses of the 40th edition of Han Kuang are testing Taiwan military's responsive measures in terms of the transition mechanism between peacetime and war; a decentralized command structure; the military's anti-air defense capabilities; military's joint interdiction operations and anti-blockade capabilities; and the nation's homeland defense resilience and all-out defense mobilization.

This year's Han Kuang will also test the updated Rules of Engagement released last year, in particular, when and how to launch a counterstrike to an enemy attack, Tung added.

The latest Rules of Engagement was revised and released in 2023, amid repeated incursions into Taiwan's air defense identification zone by Chinese warplanes, drones and balloons.

The Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan's major war games, have been held annually since 1984 to test Taiwan's combat readiness in the face of a possible Chinese invasion.

(By Matt Yu, Wu Shu-wei and Joseph Yeh)

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