The People’s Liberation Army held a large-scale exercise that simulated the invasion of an island during Taiwan’s Double Tenth holiday, Chinese state media has reported.
The drill included new units such as drones, special forces and airborne troops, and saw forces moving from multiple locations in the coastal provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, some of them by night, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
“This exercise, with the effective integration of multiple new combat forces, increased the PLA’s capabilities in joint landings and three-dimensaional assaults,” the report said.
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Saturday’s exercise coincided with the Double Tenth holiday on Taiwan to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of China in 1911.
On the same day, the PLA also announced another live-fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait, starting on Tuesday and lasting for four days.
The drill will be held off the Gulei Peninsula in Fujian province, according to a notice from the local maritime authorities – a location on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait to Kaohsiung city.
According to a video released by the PLA on Saturday night, the simulated invasion began at midnight with scouts infiltrating the target.
The drill also involved the use of drone ships, heavy artillery and helicopters to attack targets and a landing by amphibious armoured vehicles.
Beijing views the island as a breakaway province and insists it must be reunited with the mainland – by force if necessary.
On Saturday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called for “meaningful dialogue” with Beijing, but also pledged to uphold the island’s security.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since Tsai, from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, was elected in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China principle. Ties have come under further strain this year as Taipei moved closer to the United States and signed a series of arms deals.
Beijing has sought to keep up the pressure with a series of exercises around the island, including multiple air sorties last month with almost 40 fighters crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait on a single day last month.
This article Chinese military stages island invasion drill during Taiwan’s ‘Double Tenth’ holiday first appeared on South China Morning Post