Taiwan's AH-64E Apache attack helicopter launches flares. AP
Two crew members were killed in a helicopter crash Thursday as Taiwan's military held drills across the island -- including one simulating coastal assaults from China.
Thursday's climax of the five-day drill aimed to test how democratic Taiwan's armed forces would repel an invasion from its giant neighbour.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it -- by force if necessary.
Thursday's main simulation saw Taiwan fighter jets, warships and ground troops repelling an enemy attempt to land on a beach in the central city of Taichung in an operation involving some 8,000 service members.
The military said a Bell 0H-58D helicopter crashed as it returned to Hsinchu airbase from one of the exercises, killing the pilot and co-pilot.
Taipei has lived with the threat of invasion by China since the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.
In recent decades it has found itself increasingly outnumbered and outgunned by China's enormous People's Liberation Army.
Beijing has piled military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016 because she refuses to acknowledge its stance that the island is part of "one China".
Tsai won a landslide re-election in January in what was seen as a strong rebuke to China's strong-arm tactics against the island.
Last year President Xi Jinping gave an especially bellicose speech about Taiwan, warning unification was coming.
"I think it's inevitable that the People's Republic of China will realise the reunification of the motherland," Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters when asked about Taiwan's drills.
In recent months Chinese warplanes have started buzzing Taiwan with unprecedented frequency, repeatedly breaching its air defence zone and prompting Taipei to scramble its own fighter jets.
The statement issued by the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office and its news department followed almost a week of missile firings and incursions into Taiwanese waters and airspace by Chinese warships and air force planes.
With support from both parties, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Taiwan Policy Act, billed as the most sweeping upgrade of the relationship since the United States switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
Beijing has raged at a trip to Taiwan last week by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected American official to visit in decades — staging days of air and sea drills around the island that raised tensions to their highest level in years.
Relations between the two superpowers have nosedived in the wake of Pelosi's trip to China's self-ruled neighbour — which it claims as its territory — prompting calls from the UN for an urgent de-escalation of tensions.
While it is customary in the Pacific Coast city for people to stop on the left side of escalators and keeping the right open for those in a hurry, there have been instances of several people losing their balance and knocking others off as well.
With effect from 2nd October 2023, the Zoo and its facilities will be open from 9 am to 6 pm daily with tours and experiences suitable for all family members.
Throughout the event, the CoE will be showcasing its diverse range of programmes, highlighting its latest innovations, creativity, and the transformative power of engineering in shaping a sustainable future.