Taiwan undertakes air raid drill amid China threat

STORY: Sirens sounded at 1:30 p.m. (0530 GMT) for the mandatory street evacuation drills, which effectively shut towns and cities across northern Taiwan for 30 minutes.

In Taipei, police directed vehicles to move to the side of the road and passers-by were told to seek shelter. Shops and restaurants pulled down their shutters and turned off lights to avoid becoming a target in the event of a night-time attack. Half an hour later, sirens sounded to give the all-clear.

“The drills are for the events that might happen (such as war), so I think that these exercises are necessary, so that everyone knows what we have to do in case there is a situation," said local restauranteur Cheng Ting-En.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has renewed debate in Taiwan about how best to react in the event of an attack, amid stepped up Chinese military manoeuvres around the island. Taiwan has raised its alert level since the Russian invasion of Ukraine even though it has reported no unusual Chinese military activity.

China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its territory and has never ruled out taking the island by force. Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claim and vows to defend itself.