Taiwan’s military trains for a Chinese invasion on the beach

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An M109 self-propelled Howitzer fire during the annual Han Kuang exercises in Pingtung County, Southern Taiwan, Thursday, May 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

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FANGSHAN, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese tanks and soldiers fired at simulated Chinese forces and assault helicopters launched missiles in an anti-invasion drill Thursday on a beach on the island’s southern coast.

The live firing was part of annual exercises designed to showcase the military’s capabilities and resolve to repel any attack from across the Taiwan Strait. The Han Guang exercise wraps up Friday.

China and Taiwan split during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the self-governing island as its territory.

Asked about the exercises, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said China would strive for peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

“What should be pointed out is that seeking Taiwan independence is suicide and resorting to force is no way out,” he said.

The simulated response to a Chinese beach landing included fighter jets and missiles launched at targets in the sea.

The Defense Ministry said the joint army-navy-air force operation tested the island’s combat readiness in the face of the Chinese military threat.

___

Associated Press writer Chris Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this story.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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