25th September 2023 – (Beijing) The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly conducted a ground exercise on the mainland side of the Taiwan Straits on Sunday. The defence authority on the island of Taiwan became aware of the participation of long-range rockets, conventional missiles, and amphibious troops in the PLA drills around the island, in addition to previously detected aircraft and vessels.
Over the past two weeks, the PLA has been conducting intense exercises, featuring a record-breaking number of vessels and aircraft, as well as new training methods involving an aircraft carrier group. Experts believe that these exercises serve as a stern warning to “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces and external interference forces.
On Sunday morning, the defence authority on the island of Taiwan detected PLA military drills at Dacheng Bay, located in Dongshan Island in East China’s Fujian Province. The exercise included undisclosed numbers of aircraft, vessels, and ground troops. Dacheng Bay is a PLA amphibious landing training site that faces Taiwan from the mainland side.
While the defence authority on the island of Taiwan has been reporting daily PLA aircraft and vessel activities, they only started reporting PLA ground activities on Thursday. They confirmed the presence of the PLA Army’s long-range rocket artilleries, Rocket Force missiles, and ground activities around Dacheng Bay.
Analysts speculate that the exercise could involve amphibious landing training and follow-up tactical manoeuvres. Chiu Kuo-cheng, the leader of the defence authority on the island, described the recent PLA movements as “highly unusual.”
September witnessed the PLA breaking records for the number of daily aircraft sorties and vessel activities around Taiwan. On September 17, Taiwan spotted 103 PLA warplanes, and on 11th September, they detected 20 PLA warships. In mid-September, the Shandong aircraft carrier group conducted a five-day exercise in the West Pacific waters east of Taiwan, accompanied by eight PLA warships.
During the exercises, the aircraft carrier Shandong formed a group with vessels from the PLA Southern Theatre Command, while other warships and Air Force units from the PLA Eastern Theatre Command played the role of a defensive red team.
The PLA has not officially announced the exercises or provided details. However, experts suggest that the drills signify an increasing level of combat readiness and demonstrate the PLA’s capability to control the situation in the Taiwan Straits.
There are concerns that the US may be involved in providing intelligence to the armed forces on the island of Taiwan, enabling them to gather information about PLA ground deployments and activities. While this intelligence sharing does not pose an immediate threat to the PLA, it fuels the “China military threat” theory and encourages Taiwan to acquire more long-range guided weapons, escalating tensions in the region.