Taiwan’s military released a handbook on civil defense for the first time this week, advising civilians on how to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion. The book includes information on where to find bomb shelters and how to stockpile emergency supplies.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control and has stepped up military activities nearby in the past two years. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also heightened fears that China might one day follow through on threats to annex its smaller neighbor.
Planning for the handbook pre-dates Russia’s attack, which has prompted debate on its implications for Taiwan and ways to boost preparedness, such as reforms to the training of reservists.
The island is also considering extending its compulsory military service to 12 months. Currently, all eligible males have to undergo a four-month basic military training.
“(We) are providing information on how citizens should react in a military crisis and possible disasters to come,” Liu Tai-yi, an official of the ministry’s All-out Defence Mobilisation unit, told an online news conference.
He said the handbook, which draws from similar guides issued by Sweden and Japan, would be further updated with localized information such as the sites of shelters, hospitals and shops for daily needs.
The handbook uses comic strips and pictures with tips to survive a military attack, such as how to distinguish air raid sirens and ways to shelter from missiles.
Taiwan has not reported any sign of an imminent invasion planned by China but has raised its alert level since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.
Taiwan remains massively outgunned by China but the mountainous island would be a formidable challenge for any military to conquer.
Unlike South Korea, the Philippines and Japan, Taiwan is not a treaty ally with the United States.