Taiwan’s Defence Minister urges efforts to avoid war, emphasises military preparedness

 Taiwan's Defence Minister

25th May 2023 – (Taipei) Taiwan’s Defence Minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, has urged efforts to avoid a war, highlighting the catastrophic consequences that it could bring. Speaking at a Legislative Yuan Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committee meeting, he emphasised that the military would not provoke hostility but would be prepared for one, stating that there is no longer a distinction between the frontline and rear for Taiwan.

Chiu stressed that each officer and soldier has their respective defence areas, such as beaches, highlands, and strategic locations, where regular drills are conducted to prepare for any possible scenario. He added that while the ideal situation would be to avoid the use of force, preparation cannot be neglected.

Regarding the possibility of military drills at Taoyuan International Airport during the upcoming Han Kuang exercise, Chiu said that it is still under consideration, and each of the operational theatres has its own missions that will be incorporated into the live-fire exercise.

The defence minister also responded to former National Security Bureau Director-General Chen Ming-tong’s comment that China intends to “pressure Taiwan through war,” stating that he believes every defence minister, including himself, feels this way every day. However, he stressed that military growth and preparedness must never cease and must be accompanied by tangible actions.

Taiwan held the tabletop war game portion of the Han Kuang 39 from 16th-21st May, simulating various scenarios involving an enemy force and drawing lessons from recent military activities that threatened Taiwan, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The simulation aimed to test and hone officers’ command skills, according to Joint Operations Planning Office Director Lin Wen-huang.

The simulation exercise focused on training rather than determining a winner or loser, and the live-fire portion of the Han Kuang exercise is set to take place from 24th to 28th July. This exercise will include a scenario involving an attack on Taiwan’s east coast.