Storm Shadows Taiwan’s Biggest-Ever Military Drills; Taipei Cancels ‘Han Kuang’ Exercise

The 39th edition of Taiwan’s much-awaited military drills, codenamed ‘Han Kuang,’ was canceled amid threats posed by Typhoon Doksuri, which swept across the Pacific one day before the exercises got underway and could potentially have an impact on Taiwan.

In the run-up to the inauguration of what is known as Taiwan’s biggest military drills, forecasters in the United States predicted that the typhoon, which began as a storm, could eventually turn into a supertyphoon and advance towards Taiwan, Hong Kong, or even mainland China this week.

While the impact of the typhoon on Taiwan remained unknown, there were reports that the typhoon was about to impact Luzon Island in The Philippines at the time of writing this report. Social media was flooded with warnings to the people living in the northern parts of The Philippines since the wee hours of the day.

There is close geographical proximity between Luzon Island and Taiwanese Island. The two are separated from each other just by the 250-kilometer or 155 miles-wide Luzon Strait. According to forecasters and other experts active on social media, Typhoon Doksuri is expected to make landfall in Taiwan later this week.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said over the weekend that it was closely studying the possible impact of the typhoon on the drills, with warnings for both the sea and the land likely to start on July 25. In a preliminary assessment, the ministry said it could make landfall in north Taiwan on July 27.

However, despite the shadow of an unprecedented typhoon looming large on Taiwan, the self-ruled island’s military started the 39th Han Kuang military drills to deter China. It will revolve around simulating a response to a potential invasion by the PLA.

An MND spokesperson stated that the military would closely monitor weather developments and make the necessary modifications, as reported by Liberty Times. However, the officials reportedly believe the typhoon could impact the landings at Fengnian and Army anti-invasion drills in Zhiben, Taitung County.


Due to the impending storm, civilian ferries between the mainland of Taitung County and Green Island and Orchid Island were canceled between July 25 and July 27. However, EurAsian Times could not independently verify the scale and likely impact of the typhoon for the day.

The drills, however, come at a time of enhanced Chinese military intrusions and intimidation of the Taiwanese military by the PLA. As the drills got underway on July 24, China flew over 11 fighter jets, and six naval vessels of the PLA Navy sailed around Taiwan.

The five-day exercise is the 39th iteration of the Han Kuang military drills, conducted on the island nation since 1984, across the Taiwan Strait. All branches of Taiwan’s military forces are participating in the exercises, including computerized war games and live-fire training.

Taiwanese Military Is Simulating How To Thwart Invasion

The military exercises “test the Taiwanese military’s capability to fend off a Chinese invasion,” Focus Taiwan said, quoting the island nation’s Defense Ministry. As part of these drills, fighter jets from Taiwan’s Air Force flew from Taiwan’s western section to the eastern side as part of the drills “in a simulation of an invasion.”

A drill featuring F-16V block 20 fighter jets and C-130H cargo planes will be held on July 25 at Taitung airport for the first time. The next day, a one-hour anti-takeover operation will be conducted at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, during which commercial air traffic will be suspended.

On the last day of the drills, the military will hold an anti-landing exercise on a beach in New Taipei’s Bali District, the Port of Taipei, and the mouth of the Tamsui River. This is the day when Typhoon Doksuri was previously predicted to make landfall in Taiwan.

Sohail Ahmed on Twitter: "#Taiwan has lost one of its recently upgraded F- 16V fighter jets, the aircraft crashing into the sea. The incident comes just weeks after the type was declared fully
Taiwan’s F-16V fighter jets (via Twitter)

However, the most intriguing part of the drills is that Taiwan’s armed forces will conduct this annual military drill at the country’s primary commercial airport this year for the first time.

The drill will center on a scenario where the Joint Air Operations Center on Toad Mountain in Taipei is attacked, affecting the center’s command-and-control operations, and forcing relevant personnel to relocate to another location to ensure operations continue, according to a source accessed by Focus Taiwan.

Taoyuan International Airport and Taitung Airport in eastern Taiwan will likely host the anti-takeover exercises. Although comparable exercises have been held at other Taiwanese airports, Taoyuan International Airport—the country’s main civilian airport—will be performing this exercise for the first time.

The source said that to evaluate the Air Force backup system and its emergency response capabilities during a war, the exercises would involve a simulation of the transfer of air combat command power.

Up until July 27, there will be 46 air raid drills, the ministry said in an announcement. Some major naval vessels from Taiwan are also sailing around the island country “in preparation for confronting enemy forces and to deploy naval mines to slow down the enemy invasion.”

The “reservists” were activated by the ministry, who then sent them to certain sites “as a preventive measure in anticipation of enemy invasion of the island.”

PLA Navy’s fast attack missile boats during an exercise in the East China Sea on February 22, 2022.

Members of the Army Airborne Special Forces and the Aviation and Special Forces Command are also taking part in the drills.

Major General Lin Wen-Huang, who is in charge of planning at the MND, earlier told the media that the primary focus of the live-fire exercises would be on assessing the military’s capacity to maintain its forces in the case of a full-scale invasion and to carry out “maritime interceptions” to thwart the PLA’s attempt to blockade Taiwan.

Lin said the maneuvers would allow the Taiwanese military to exploit civilian airports, disperse aviation assets, conceal ground forces, and combine sea, air, and land forces to strike enemy military groups and amphibious assault ships. This is significant given that the Chinese military has continually simulated the encirclement of Taiwan Island.