Taiwan’s military published a handbook on Tuesday advising civilians on how to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion, including where to find bomb shelters and how to stockpile emergency supplies.

China’s Communist Party has never controlled self-ruled Taiwan but it nonetheless views the island as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

Taiwanese Air Force pilots at a military base in the city of Hsinchu on April 1, 2022. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP

Those threats have turned more bellicose under Xi Jinping, China’s most authoritarian leader in a generation.

Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has also heightened fears that China might one day follow through on threats to annex its smaller neighbour.

The 28-page guide contains information which “the general public can use as an emergency response guideline in a military crisis or natural disaster,” defence ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said during an introduction at an online press conference.

It is the first time Taiwan’s military has published such a handbook.

Drawn from similar guides by Sweden and Japan, it tells residents where to find bomb shelters via mobile phone apps and what to do in an emergency including how to distinguish air raid sirens.

Taiwan taipei city streets pedestrian labour people
File photo: Simon Hsu via Flickr.

“The guide is for the public to better prepare themselves before a war or disaster happens,” Liu Tai-yi, an official of the ministry’s All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency, said.

It includes information on basic survival skills for the public during air raids, massive fires, building collapses, power outages and natural disasters.

“We hope the public can familiarise themselves where the safety shelters are beforehand,” he added.

All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency
Inauguration ceremony of the All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency on December 30, 2021. Photo: Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan).

Beijing’s increased sabre-rattling has spurred diplomatic support for Taipei and visits from Western nations shaken by China’s more muscular tone.

Taiwan remains massively outgunned against China but the mountainous island would be a formidable challenge for any military to conquer.

Taiwan last year stepped up its training regime for reservists and has increased purchases of military equipment such as jets and anti-ship missiles.

Taiwan Republic of China army military
File photo: Presidential Office via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

Unlike South Korea, the Philippines and Japan, Taiwan is not a treaty ally with the United States.

Washington remains Taiwan’s main arms supplier but it maintains a policy of “strategic ambiguity”, leaving China guessing as to whether an invasion would trigger a response.

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