Taipei fires howitzers and target flares as part of the military exercise in the island's southernmost county of Pingtung, says army.

Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung and both included the deployments of hundreds of troops, says military.
Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung and both included the deployments of hundreds of troops, says military. (Reuters)

Taiwan's army has held another live-fire drill after Beijing ended its largest-ever military exercises around the island, as it vowed to bring the island under its control.

Taiwan fired howitzers and target flares as part of the drill on Thursday morning, Lou Woei-jye, the spokesperson for Taiwan's Eighth Army Corps, told the AFP news agency.

"We have two goals for the drills, the first is to certify the proper condition of the artillery and their maintenance condition and the second is to confirm the results of last year," Lou said, referring to annual drills.

The exercise in Taiwan's southernmost county of Pingtung began at 0830 am local time (0030 GMT) and lasted about an hour, he said.

Artillery tucked in from the coast was lined up side by side, with armed soldiers in units firing the howitzers out to sea one after the other, a livestream showed.

Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung. Both included the deployments of hundreds of troops, the military said.

The military has played down their significance, saying they were already scheduled and were not in response to China's war games.

READ MORE: China 'will not renounce the use of force' to unify Taiwan with mainland

'Preparing for war'

Beijing has raged at a trip to Taiwan last week by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected American official to visit in decades — staging days of air and sea drills around the island that raised tensions to their highest level in years.

Taiwan has accused China of using the Pelosi visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to rehearse for an "invasion".

The latest exercise came after China's military indicated its own drills had come to an end on Wednesday, saying its forces "successfully completed various tasks" in the Taiwan Strait while vowing to continue patrolling its waters.

But in the same announcement, China added that it would "continue to carry out military training and prepare for war".

In a separate white paper published on Wednesday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing would "not renounce the use of force" against Taiwan and reserved "the option of taking all necessary measures".

"We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form," it said in the paper.

Beijing considers Taiwan as its inseparable province. Taiwan says it is an independent country and already enjoys diplomatic ties with at least 14 countries.

Interactions between Washington and Taipei have grown significantly since the tenure of former US president Donald Trump, with former and sitting lawmakers making trips to the island home to more than 25 million people.

The US formally recognised China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, and accepted Taiwan as part of the mainland under Washington's One China policy.

READ MORE: Taiwanese minister: China using war games to prepare for invasion

Source: AFP