The past few weeks have seen tensions between Communist China and Taiwan soar to alarming levels. A record number of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force warplanes have intruded into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) since the beginning of October.
The PLA has now revealed that it carried out beach landing and assault drills in Fujian Province, situated across the strait from Taiwan. If or when Beijing decides to attack, Fujian will be a key launching site for the PLA.
Official military newspaper PLA Daily revealed the drills in a brief report on its Weibo microblogging account, saying that an unidentified number of troops landed in southern Fujian “in recent days.” However, it did not associate the exercises with the current tensions with Taiwan.
The military newspaper added that the drills involved “shock” troops, boat specialists, and sappers. The troops were “divided into multiple waves to grab the beach and perform combat tasks at different stages.” The post did not provide further details on what the combat tasks were.
However, a video of mainland Chinese soldiers from the 73rd Group Army was shared by the account. The group is a corps-sized unit that’s primarily made up of motorized infantry with armor, air-defense, missile, artillery, and engineer elements.
The video showed the troops storming a beach in small boats, cutting through barbed wire, throwing smoke grenades, and digging trenches in the sand.
Beijing’s beach exercises come as President Xi Jinping pledged in a speech on Oct. 9 that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan — officially called the Republic of China (ROC) — will have a “peaceful reunification.”
“Taiwan independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland, and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation… No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity… The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled,” Xi said.
However, ROC President Tsai Ing-wen has already stated that the island will not submit to Beijing and that they are prepared to defend its sovereignty and democratic way of life.
According to Beijing, the military exercises that are conducted frequently near Taiwan are a “solemn warning” to separatist groups on the island and its foreign backers like the United States.