They’re ready to roll and to give their life to the cause of unification.
Running, jumping and marching in formation, hundreds of soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army go through their paces, swearing allegiance to the flag.
“If war breaks out, this would be my answer.”
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So goes the chorus of a new propaganda song If the War Broke Out Today, in a video released on Tuesday on the official media account of the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command, which oversees the military operations in relation to Taiwan and the East China Sea.
The video’s release comes as tensions mount with the United States and Taiwan, the self-rule island that Beijing claims as its own.
“Every day fully armoured and every moment ready to go, I am committed to the mission with my life,” the song goes.
The video, which was produced by the PLA Rocket Force, shows soldiers in live-fire exercises in various environments, from jungles to beach landings, as well as land-based missiles being set up and fired.
“We will march to the battlefield without looking back, shoulder the duty and hope of the people, safeguard every inch of our land and everything on it, if one day the war broke out,” the Eastern Theatre Command says in the end.
Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, has prepared the PLA for decades to stop the island pursuing independence and to bring it back under the mainland’s rule.
To that end, the Eastern Theatre command has been carrying out a series of air and sea exercises in the Taiwan Strait and for several days in a row sent warplanes across the “median line”, what had been the unofficial division between the two sides of the strait. Beijing said this week that the line “does not exist”.
It follows a visit to Taipei last week by US undersecretary of state Keith Krach, the highest ranking American official to go to the island in more than four decades. Beijing said the trip was a serious provocation and threatened to retaliate.
Tensions have been further fuelled by Washington’s reported plan to sell seven major weapons systems – including mines, cruise missiles and drones – to Taiwan.
The command has said that all the military action in the region was “necessary to deal with the current situation across the Taiwan Strait”.
“The PLA Eastern Theatre Command troops will resolutely perform their duties and missions, and have the confidence and determination to thwart any attempt by any person or force to carry out Taiwan independence separatist activities in any form,” it said.
This article Lights. Camera. War cry: China rallies troops with video as Taiwan tensions mount first appeared on South China Morning Post