Military exercises in Taiwan
Female reservists and war games: Taiwan strengthens its defenses
At the center of the dispute between the two great world powers, Taiwan is trying to strengthen its defenses. After that in late December President Tsai Ing-wen approved the extension of conscription, bringing it from 4 months to one year starting from 2024now we try to shore up the capabilities of the armed forces but also the readiness to fight of the ordinary population.
In recent days, a training plan for female reservists was initiated. The women involved were asked to go to a “strategic location” in Taoyuan Bade District to complete the same training required of male reservists. While the exact number of female trainees in this first batch was not disclosed, the Ministry of National Defense said it has asked a total of 220 female reservists to undergo mandatory reservist training this year.
As of 2021, a total of 8,915 women were listed as reservists. In addition to reservists, 15% of Taiwan’s 180,000 active military are women, according to military data. The government announced in January 2023 that it would begin training female reserve forces, after having trained only male reservists in the past because it did not have sufficient capacity to accommodate both men and women.
According to the Defense Ministry, the number of reservists receiving 14 days of training will increase from 15,000 in 2022 to 22,000 in 2023, but 96,000 students will continue to participate in the five to seven day maneuvers. Regardless of schedule, training has been changed to “strategic locations,” so reservists can have a better understanding of the terrain and key infrastructure of the area they are charged with defending.
Always to prepare the population for a possible clash, the government of Taiwan regularly organizes emergency and military drills, from air-raid and earthquake trials to massive live-fire exercises. But for the first time this year, civilian response exercises included a simulated military strike, due to worsening cross-Strait tensions and the war in Ukraine.
The exercises, held in major Taiwanese cities in May and June, are a sign that the Taiwanese authorities realize they need to improve civil defense preparedness, as the threat from China is growing. Taiwan’s cities are home to 80 percent of the island’s population, and the government has begun to strengthen the defense of urban areas. In Taipei, there are new signs for bomb shelters and a growing number of apps with instructions, maps and new ways to reach emergency services.
But experts say there are still gaps in preparedness, particularly regarding critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as electricity, internet and water supply, and in how the government communicates to the population.
In recent days the annual Han Kuang, the official name of the maxi military exercises of the Taiwanese army, has started. It takes place as every year in two phases. The first, taking place this week, focuses on computerized war games, while the live-fire exercises component is scheduled for July 24-28.
I computer wargames are conducted using the US Joint Theater Level Simulation (JTLS) platform to simulate joint, combined, and coalition civilian and military operations at the operational level, Lin said. The simulations will run around the clock for five days in a row to test the ability of military personnel to coordinate and launch a response to an invasion of Beijing, specifically.
But actually, the majority of the population does not yet perceive a hypothetical confrontation with Beijing as an imminent danger. Also because the feeling is that at this moment Xi Jinping wants to project an image of a great stabilizer and responsible power onto the global scene. Not to mention the benefits that could come from the economic front.
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