June 27 (UPI) — Taiwan held drills simulating the repelling of invading forces on Wednesday, as the country prepared to conduct joint drills with the United States amid rising tensions with China.
According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency and Youth Daily News, the island nation’s military conducted the large-scale defense drills in the Dajia District of Taichung on Tuesday.
The training tested the performance of artillery and communication lines and included the firing of 108 rounds from a 155mm howitzer, according to local press reports.
The exercises also deployed a missile cutter equipped with four Hsiung Feng-2 missiles, and trained with two Taiwanese IDF fighters.
The drills also deployed the AH-1W Cobra helicopter, which had not been in use since its equipment was found to be damaged in 2010.
Using eight of the Cobra helicopters, the Taiwanese military fired a total of eight AGM-114 Hellfire missiles with a maximum range of 5 miles.
Relations between China and Taiwan have deteriorated following the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, a leader who has said China should be “constrained.”
Taiwan’s military is expected to conduct more activities that could anger China, including plans to take part in U.S. naval exercises in the Solomon Islands in August, according to Taiwanese media.
The drill will prepare both sides for humanitarian relief training missions, according to the Taipei Times.
The United States continues to sell advanced weapons to Taipei under the Taiwan Relations Act, although Beijing has asked for an end to the policy, according to CNN.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.
Xi voiced concerns about rising military tensions, while Mattis said he will “listen” and identify “common ground and uncommon ground” with Beijing.