Taiwan is scaling back its formerly annual live-fire military drills to once
every two years, in what some see as a further sign of warming relations
between the two sides of the Strait.
A defense official said the live-fire portion of the Han Kuang exercises will
skip 2009 and every second year thereafter.
Previous exercises have included live-fire displays and the landing of
fighter jets on a section of closed freeway.
Wendell Minnick, Asia bureau chief with Defense News is quoted as saying "I
assume they're just making friends with China," adding "they're doing this to
Defense officials denied the decision had any connection to politics, saying
the purpose is to correct defects and mistakes.
One official said cutting back on the exercises would give the military more
time to fix problems in areas such as intelligence and support.
He said furthermore, a series of year-end air defense exercises and the
computer-simulated phase of Han Kuang would continue to take place annually.