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Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, confirmed that the drills had started in the southern county of Pingtung.

Fenggang Township, Taiwan: 

Taiwan’s military began a live-fire artillery drill Tuesday simulating a defence of the island against an attack after days of massive Chinese military exercises, an AFP journalist at the site of the exercise said.

Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, confirmed that the drills had started in the southern county of Pingtung shortly after 0040 GMT with the firing of target flares and artillery.

The drill will end at around 0130 GMT, he added.

China launched its largest-ever war games around Taiwan last week in a furious response to a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to visit the self-ruled island in decades.

Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views its neighbour as part of Chinese territory to be reclaimed one day, by force if necessary.

Taipei’s drills, taking place on Tuesday and Thursday, will include the deployment of hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzers, the army said.

Lou said Monday the drills were already scheduled and were not being held in response to China’s exercises.

The island routinely stages military drills simulating a Chinese invasion and last month practiced repelling attacks from the sea in a “joint interception operation” as part of its largest annual exercises.

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