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Ma urges military to guard against cyberattacks originating from Beijing

TAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou, in outlying Penghu County yesterday to watch a live-fire drill, urged the military to guard against Chinese cyberattacks targeting Taiwan.

Acknowledging China's concerted attempts to hack into Taiwan's important websites, Ma called on the military to take precautions to prevent serious damage from a cyber war.

Ma made the appeal in a speech shortly after the conclusion of the nearly 50-minute exercise, which simulated an attack by China.

Although cross-Taiwan Strait ties have improved over the years, Taiwan cannot let its guard down and should remain vigilant amid China's military buildup, he said.

“The real key is not the severity of an external threat, or whether a foreign country will come to our rescue at an appropriate moment,” he said. “The key is whether our defense capabilities can serve as an effective deterrent.”

Ma stressed that Taiwan is not engaging in an arms race with China, and has opted instead to use innovation and asymmetric strategies to defend itself and maintain peace across the strait.

The president, meanwhile, expressed concern over China's attempts to lure Taiwanese military personnel to spy for it, and he urged the military to stay alert and make every effort to prevent espionage.

Two other drills in the current series of exercises will be open to the public today, the military said, but those drills will not use live ammunition.

This week's Han Kuang exercises are being held for five consecutive days and conclude on April 19. A second part of the annual Han Kuang war games will be held in July and consist of computer-aided war games, the ministry said.

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