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Military pushes back live-fire exercises to Sept.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday announced that it will push back the scheduled live-fire drills to September in this year's Han Kuang series of exercises (漢光演習).

The Han Kuang military drills — Taiwan's most important annual war games involving all military branches — are held annually in two stages, with live-fire military drills normally held in April and computer-aided war games set for July.

However, the MND has rescheduled the two stages of the annual series of exercises. Now the computer-aided war games will be held in May with the live-fire drill to be staged in September.

Making the announcement during a press conference yesterday, Major General Mei Chia-shu (梅家樹) of the MND's Joint Warfare Planning Department, said the decision was made to avoid the nation's flood season that begins in May and run until October every year.

During theses months, natural disasters such as typhoons and floods often hit the country, he said.

The R.O.C. Armed Forces have to stay prepared because they are often mobilized to carry out disaster prevention and post-disaster relief missions, Mei said.

According to the MND, it was a long-standing practice for the military to hold computerized war games ahead of live-fire exercise until the year 2000.

It was that year that former Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu decided to make the switch to hold computerized war games after the live-fire drills were staged.

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