Ministry mulls live-fire at Han Kuang drill
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The military is considering including live-fire drills in the annual Han Kuang series of exercises to be held later this year, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
A more concise plan on when and where any live-fire drills will be held and want kind of weapons will be used during the exercises will be announced next month, military spokesman Luo Shou-he said yesterday during a regular news briefing.
The ministry will also inform the Coast Guard Administration a month before the drills take place to clear the area near the drill sites for safety reasons, he added.
Live-fire drills were excluded from last year's Han Kuang exercises, the largest-scale military drill for local armed forces, for “energy-saving reasons” to meet the government's ongoing push for a greener country, Luo said.
But the decision drew mixed responses from local media and lawmakers, with some accusing the ministry of neglecting national defense, he added.
The MND, therefore, conducted a full-scale review following the 2012 Han Kuang exercises and could reinstate live-fire drills to the exercises, Luo said.
The Han Kuang live military drills — Taiwan's most important annual war games involving all military branches — are scheduled for April and its computer-aided war games are set for July, according to the ministry.
The exercise has been the largest military drill for local armed forces since 1984 and is held to test the armed forces' defense capability to fight off simulated invasions by mainland Chinese forces.
The MND previously cited eco-friendly reasons to remove the scheduled live-fire drills from the exercises. But local media quoted sources as saying that the decision was made to avoid repeating the embarrassment it suffered during an air defense drill in 2011.
In an exercise held in southern Pingtung County in January 2011, one-third of the missiles missed their targets, a result that infuriated President Ma Ying-jeou who presided over the drill.