‘Multideterrence’ strategy to be tested

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s annual military exercises will be held next month to test its new “multideterrence” defense strategy, the military announced on Tuesday.

According to an announcement by the Defense Ministry, the annual Han Kuang exercises, which simulate various scenarios of attack by the Beijing government, will, as usual, be comprised of two stages: first computer-aided war games following by live-fire drills. The series of exercises will begin with five days of computer-aided war games from May 1 to 5 before live-fire drills are staged across the country and at offshore islands from May 22 to 26 for five days and four nights, the ministry said. This year’s drill will for the first time test the R.O.C. armed forces’ newly adopted defense strategy.

During her first inspection tour of the Han Kuang military exercises in Pingtung last August, President Tsai Ing-wen had called on the Defense Ministry to develop a new, revolutionary defense strategy for early 2017. Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuang (馮世寬) announced last month that the military will shift the country’s defense strategy from “effective deterrence, resolute defense (防衛固守,有效嚇阻)” to “multiple deterrence, resolute defense (防衛固守,重層嚇阻).” According to the minister, “multiple deterrence” means having the ability to attack and defend on various fronts and to prevent enemy forces from entering Taiwan by air, land or sea. With the new strategy, the military would use various means to resist and deter enemies, with the ultimate purpose of completely eliminating them, he said. Most of the nation’s newly acquired advanced weapons systems, including the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter, the Tuo Jiang (沱江) locally designed stealth missile corvette and the Pan Shi (磐石) locally developed supply vessel, will be featured during the upcoming drills. The upcoming exercises will also be the first time the nation’s military tests its counter invasion capability with the inclusion of F-35 fighter jets as part of its computer-simulated scenarios.

Taiwan is seeking aircraft with short-takeoff and vertical-landing capabilities and wants F-35s to fill this role, but has yet to receive official word from the United States on sales. As in previous editions, the ministry will invite the R.O.C. president to preside over parts of the drill as the commander in chief. The ministry did not make public President Tsai’s itinerary. But local media said Tsai would inspect a live-fire drill on Penghu, scheduled for May 25.