Taiwan stages military exercises aimed at China
Taiwanese troops have practiced overtaking Chinese commandos landing at their base in a simulated air attack during an annual military exercise.
During the April 19 drill at Hsinchu Air Base near Taipei, the troops were acting under the cover of tanks and helicopters firing dummy rounds and non-lethal missiles.
The five-day maneuvers have also involved troops warding off simulated Chinese amphibious landings along Taiwan’s coast.
For the third year in a row, the exercises did not involve any live fire, partly a reflection of improving ties with China. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has stressed the importance of a solid defense, noting the Chinese have not renounced the use of force against the island. AP
Iran army ready for action on disputed Gulf island
Iran’s ground forces commander is warning that should diplomacy fail, the military is ready for action over a disputed Gulf island controlled by Iran but also claimed by the United Arab Emirates.
Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan says Iranian forces are ready to confront the “disturbing” party over the strategic Abu Musa island in the Persian Gulf. The remarks were reported April 19 on state TV’s website.
It was the first time an Iranian military commander commented on the issue since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week visited Abu Musa.
The island dominates the approach to the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway in the Gulf through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply passes. Iran took control of tiny Abu Musa and two other nearby islands in 1971 after British forces left the region. AP
NATO, Russia mull closer cooperation in Afghan war
Diplomats say NATO and Russia are discussing Moscow’s offer to provide the alliance with a new logistics facility on Russian territory to facilitate the transfer of military cargo to and from Afghanistan.
Diplomats said April 19 that the foreign ministers of NATO’s 28 members and their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are also examining ways of helping Afghan government forces combat Taliban insurgents.
Moscow has provided the U.S. and other NATO member states with air corridors and railway routes for carrying supplies to and from landlocked Afghanistan. The link has become particularly important since Pakistan blocked NATO supplies from crossing its territory following an alliance airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani border troops in November. AP