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Sep 22, 2008

ICRT: scaled-down military drills underway

The armed forces here today launched a week of low-key military drills,
including a controversial decision to cancel a live-fire display.

A ministry of defense spokesman said exercises this week would focus on
military-media relations and military hospitality, particularly for
high-level guests.

The spokesman said "It's not the same as in the past," adding "We're reducing

The decision to leave the televised live-fire displays out of the five day
Kuang exercises, which former president Chen Shui-bian used to flex Taiwan's
muscles before the eyes of Beijing, has been criticized by some as kowtowing
to China, and weakening Taiwan defensively.

However, one prominent analyst said the priority is to keep Han Kuang as
low-key as possible to smooth cross-strait relations," adding they don't want
a wrong interpretation."

However, analysts also say Taiwan must carry out some kind of exercise to
ensure conservative elements in the United States that it isn't getting too
close to China too fast.

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