A U.S.-made F-16 fighter of the Taiwanese air force flies at low-altitude over a highway in Chiatung during a drill Nov. 17 (Patrick Lin / AFP via Getty Images)
17 Nov 2011DefenseNews AFP
CHIATUNG, Taiwan - Taiwan's military on Nov. 17 carried out a major maneuver testing its ability to withstand a D-Day style attack by China.
The drill, held on the south of the island, pitted a marine brigade, acting as an enemy landing force, against a motorized infantry brigade defending the island, according to the defense ministry.
The air force had planned to have four aircraft, including a U.S.-made F-16, land on and take off from a sealed-off section of a highway near the southern city of Pingtung but had to skip that part of the drill due to low visibility.
Ties between Taiwan and China have improved drastically since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party became president in 2008. Ma promised to boost trade links and allow more Chinese tourists to visit the island.
But China still claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which has governed itself since 1949, and has vowed to get it back, by force if necessary.
As a result, China continues to build up its military facing Taiwan, focusing especially on weaponry that can help bring the island to its knees, should the need arise.
Taiwanese experts estimate that China has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island and has recently deployed a new type of ballistic missile despite improving ties.