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PLA Military Exercises Put Pressure on Taiwan

Aug. 3, 2022 (EIRNS)—After U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plane landed in Taipei yesterday, the Chinese PLA announced a series of exercises around Taiwan, which are now underway. “The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) organizes joint combat training exercises in the northern, southwestern and southeastern waters and airspace off the Taiwan Island on Aug. 3, involving troops from the Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force and Logistic Support Force under the Eastern Theater Command,” the PLA website reported this morning. “The exercises focus on key training sessions including joint blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets, airspace control operation, and the joint combat capabilities of the troops got tested in the military operations.” The statement was accompanied by imagery of various types of PLA aircraft, ships and ground equipment, including J-20 stealth fighters and H-6 bombers in flight.

Global Times reported this morning that the PLA

“launched massive military drills around the island of Taiwan, including a long-range live fire drill in the Taiwan Straits and a live fire conventional missile drill to the east of the island, with analysts saying China is not merely targeting a visiting 82-year-old U.S. politician, but is eyeing the anti-secession campaign against the secessionist Taiwan authorities and is to concretely speed up the reunification process.”

Global Times cites Gu Zhong, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Eastern Theater Command, as saying that the drills involve courses like joint blockade, sea assault, land attack and air superiority seizing plus live-fire shooting of precision weapons. The drills will comprehensively test the performance of weapons and equipment as well as the troops’ joint operational capabilities in order to be ready for all crises, Gu said.

Song Zhongping, a military commentator based in Hong Kong, told South China Morning Post that the drills now ongoing around Taiwan were intended to strengthen preparations for military action against Taiwan, and in future they would become normalized. Then, if Taiwan provoked Beijing, the exercises would turn into combat operations, Song said.

In response to the PLA drills, Taipei’s defense ministry said that China’s plans to hold six live-fire military drills in waters around Taiwan over the next few days are an attempt to threaten Taiwan’s major ports and metropolitan areas. “This unilateral effort to undermine regional peace and stability will not help China’s international image and will hurt the feelings of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” the MND said in a statement, while strongly condemning the Chinese plans, reported the island’s “official” news agency Focus Taiwan.

Taiwanese defense ministry also complained that after Pelosi’s plane landed, 21 PLA jets entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) to the southwest of the island. In response, Taiwan scrambled a combat air patrol, sent radio warnings, and deployed defense missile systems to track the Chinese military planes, the MND said.

China’s move to hold live-fire military drills near Taiwan in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit was “unnecessary,” Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen said this morning. “Military drills are unnecessary responses. Taiwan has always been open to constructive dialogue,” she said during a press event with Pelosi, adding that Taiwan will continue to work with stakeholders “to bring stability and peace in the region.”

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