Amidst the rising military threats from Beijing an annual air-raid exercise was carried out by Taiwan to step up preparations in the event of a Chinese attack.
At 1.30 pm sirens sounded for the mandatory street evacuation drills, which effectively shut towns and cities including its capital Taipei for 30 minutes.
A text message reading an “air raid alert” asking people to evacuate to safety immediately, was sent
An hour before the exercise named Wan An, which means everlasting peace, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in a reminder to the public on Facebook “When you receive the text message, please be aware of the wordings such as ‘test’ and ‘drill’ and stay calm.”
Beijing claims Taiwan to be its territory despite strong rejections from latter. In a bid to pressurize Taiwan, China has been staging regular exercises around the island for the last three years.
Some citizens were instructed to seek shelter in basement parking lots with their hands covering their eyes and ears while keeping their mouths open – to minimise the impact of blast waves from missiles during the various drills carried out by authorities in Taipei.
After 30 minutes sirens sounded again to give the all-clear.
Other parts of Taiwan, where periodic air-raid drills are required by law, will carry out street evacuation drills this week.
Beijing has stepped up its warnings against a trip to the United States by Taiwan vice president and presidential frontrunner William Lai next month, while the top US diplomat in Taipei urged China not to take “provocative” action in response to the brief transits.