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War games to simulate China aircraft carrier attack: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's annual computer war games, to be held next month, will be testing local armed forces' combat strategies in the face of an invasion led by China's first aircraft carrier, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.

The war games, slated for May 19 to 23, will simulate a People's Liberation Army (PLA) all-out invasion of Taiwan in the year 2015, MND officials said at news briefing yesterday.

The simulated PLA attack is expected to feature the Liaoning (遼寧號), the first aircraft carrier commissioned by the PLA and the Chinese armed forces' latest addition to its weaponry, officials said.

In response, some of the latest weapon systems of the R.O.C. Armed Forces, including the locally developed Thunderbolt-2000 artillery multiple-launch rocket system, AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft bought from the U.S. will be featured at the war games, military officials noted.

China's Liaoning aircraft carrier was commissioned into the PLA Navy on Sept. 25, 2012 after undergoing successful sea trials.

The computerized exercises are part of Taiwan's annual Han Kuang 30 military exercise (漢光三十號演習).

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.

But this year the MND announced that it will push back the scheduled live-fire drills to September. Now the computer-aided war games will be held in May ahead of the live-fire drill.

The MND previously explained that the decision was made to avoid the nation's flood season that begins in May and runs until October every year.

During these months, natural disasters such as typhoons and floods often hit the country so the R.O.C. Armed Forces have to stay prepared to carry out disaster prevention and post-disaster relief missions when needed.

Better-than-expected Recruitmen

Meanwhile, the MND yesterday announced that it has managed to recruit more voluntary soldiers than expected this year, thanks to a salary raise on military personnel that the government announced earlier this year.

Taiwan's armed forces have recruited 8,634 men and women as of April 20 this year, massively exceeding the original target of 5,920, Major General Bai Chieh-lung (白捷隆), an MND human resources official, stated at the same press conference yesterday.

Bai said that the higher-than-expected recruitment performance is largely because of a series of incentives the MND has launched over the past months, including a NT$4,000 salary raise for voluntary soldiers which brings the starting monthly salary of a private to NT$33,000 from NT$29,000.

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