ICYMI – An inside look at a navy bootcamp in Taiwan and the world reacts to volcanic destruction near Tonga
ARP trainees battle the waves while completing training exercises during the last week of a ten week program to become members of the Taiwan navy’s elite Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol unit, at Zuoying navy base, Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, December 18, 2021. The trainees have to endure everything from long marches to hours in the water, with constant screaming at by their instructors. Of the group of 31 who started the program, only 15 finished. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Our photographers got a rare inside look at the brutal conditions that trainees must withstand to gain entry into Taiwan’s navy elite Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol unit. The bootcamp is held in the context of growing military and political pressure from China, which still claims Taiwan as its own. In the event of a war with China, these ARP soldiers could be sent out on real missions to scout enemy locations and call in attacks.
A few thousand miles east in the Pacific Islands, a much more imminent threat poured in from the sea. An underwater volcano erupted near Tonga, resulting in waves as high as 2.7 meters high by the time it reached the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa. Authorities from across the region are assessing the damage, a task that has proved difficult after international communication was hampered by damage to an undersea cable.
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