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China's Shandong performs 5-day blitz exercise against Taiwan

China's Shandong performs 5-day blitz exercise against Taiwan

Posted September. 18, 2023 08:52,   

Updated September. 18, 2023 08:52


A Chinese state-owned media reported that the country’s aircraft carrier Shandong performed a blitz drill against Taiwan. While there were many incidents where the Chinese military trained near the Taiwan Strait, it is unusual that it was explicitly mentioned as a ‘blitz exercise against Taiwan.’ “With the return of the Shandong aircraft carrier group and other warships, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has seemingly wrapped up its five-day blitz exercise around the island of Taiwan,” the Global Times, a Chinese state-owned English newspaper, reported on Sunday. “These activities have led observers to believe that the PLA held a large-scale military exercise encircling the island of Taiwan from multiple directions,” the newspaper added. “The Shandong carrier group from the South China Sea and the warship flotilla from the East China Sea, totaling some 14 vessels, encircled the island of Taiwan, as they formed an unprecedently large carrier group.”

Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times that the exercise was likely a comprehensive one that practiced all training courses, including air defense, anti-submarine, anti-ship, and land attack. “While previous far sea exercises by PLA aircraft carriers often lasted for about a month, this time the Shandong only stayed beyond the first island chain for five days but had more accompanying and coordinating forces,” the Global Times reported. “It could represent a new tactic, that the PLA can deploy powerful, intensive forces on a very large scale and finish their mission within a short period.”

“While the Shandong carrier group performed a training, the PLA’s Northern Theater Command sent several vessels to the Tsushima Strait for patrol,” the Taiwanese media, including the United Daily News, said on the PLA’s military training. It was analyzed that the PLA performed training to monitor and keep Japan in check using a different military strength while engaging in a battle near Taiwan and in the western Pacific.

Some said that the Chinese state-owned media’s specifying the training as a ‘blitz exercise against Taiwan’ was targeted for the U.S. The U.S. is expanding its military support for Taiwan, by approving the sales of weapons worth 80 million dollars, or 106 billion won, to the country on August 30 and providing the newest military equipment, including infra-red seekers for F-16 combat planes. China is strongly opposing the U.S.’s such moves by sanctioning Lockheed Martin Corp, a U.S. defense company.

Ki-Yong Kim kky@donga.com