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Taiwan defends largest airport against simulated attack

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From Thai PBS World / AFP

Taiwan staged its first-ever military drill at Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday, briefly halting commercial traffic as soldiers practised defending the facility against a simulated attack by Beijing.

The exercise is part of Taiwan’s week-long massive wargames — the annual “Han Kuang” (Han Glory) drills — which this year has included protecting civilian airports as Beijing ramps up military and political pressures on the island.

This is the first such drill held at Taiwan’s biggest airport near the capital since it opened in 1979.

Analysts said Taiwan is drawing experiences from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which last year fended off a seizure by Russian paratroopers at an airport just outside Kyiv.

“Seeing the experience of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Battle of Antonov Airport is a successful counter-offensive of the Ukrainian forces in the defence of Kyiv,” said Su Tzu-yun, a military expert at Taiwan’s Institute for National Defence and Security Research.

He added that Taoyuan airport’s proximity to a “red beach” — using a term for a potential landing point for amphibious assaults — makes it especially important to protect it.

“If it were to be seized by China, Chinese paratroopers would join the attack against our troops guarding the beach,” Su told AFP.

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