- The Washington Times - Monday, July 19, 2010

Taiwan started a computerized war game simulating a Chinese invasion on Monday, less than three weeks after the signing of a historic trade agreement between the communist-run mainland and the self-governing island nation.

“The purpose of the drill is aimed to test our defense capabilities in case the People’s Liberation Army launched an invasion,” a defense ministry official said, according to Agence France-Presse.

During the five-day exercise, Chinese forces “attack” across the Strait of Taiwan from Guangzhou and Nanjing, the military districts closest to the island.

News of the war game coincided with a report, published Monday in the Taiwanese Defense Ministry’s naval studies journal, revealing that China had increased the number of its missiles aimed at Taiwan.

A report Monday in the Chinese-language Liberty Times indicated that Taiwan aims to buy American-manufactured MK-54 torpedoes and dozens of M1A2 tanks.

The Obama administration had announced in January that it would sell Taiwan $6.4 billion in arms — a package that includes Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot missiles and supplies for Taiwan’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets.

The January arms deal halted a thawing of U.S.-China relations, which has been a top priority of the Obama administration.

President Obama in November paid a four-day visit to China, where he signed a joint statement under which China and the U.S. agreed to respect each other’s “core interests.” Chinese officials have cited the phrase as U.S. validation of its “One China” policy toward Taiwan.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang Party won a landslide victory over the ruling, pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in May 2008. Since then, Taiwan has sought to reduce cross-strait tensions by deepening commercial ties with China.

China and Taiwan signed a historic agreement to lower tariffs on June 29.