Taiwan Stages Air Defense Drills

Posted November 17th, 2011 at 7:45 am (UTC-5)
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Taiwan's military conducted a major military exercise Thursday to demonstrate its ability to defend itself against any attack from China.

Four fighter jets, including a U.S.-built F-16 and a Taiwanese-made Indigenous Defense Fighter, flew over a section of a highway in southern Pintung County. The jets were initially scheduled to take off from and land on a section of the highway designated as an emergency runway, but it was cancelled because of bad weather.

Two assault helicopters and a transport helicopter also took part in the drills.

Taiwan and China have been separated since 1949, when Mao Zedong's communist forces drove Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists off the mainland. Bejing continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory, and has vowed to bring the self-ruled island back under its rule, by force if necessary.

But Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has worked to improve diplomatic and trade ties between the cross-Strait rivals since taking office in 2008.