The large-scale live-fire military drills of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) around the island of Taiwan entered their second day on Friday. With warplanes coming so close to the island that pilots could visually confirm its coastline and the Central Mountain Range, analysts said the PLA displayed its control over the island.
The PLA Eastern Theater Command on Friday proceeded with a plan and conducted realistic combat-scenario joint exercises in the sea and air space to the north, southwest, and east of the island of Taiwan, continuing to test the troops’ joint operational capabilities, the Eastern Theater Command said in a press release on the day.
Fighter jets, bombers, early warning aircraft and electronic reconnaissance aircraft made sorties one by one, and arrived in areas around Taiwan island for exercises including the seizing of air superiority, cover and support, air strike, reconnaissance and early warning, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
The report showed that the H-6K bomber, the J-16 fighter jet and the Su-30 fighter jet were among the warplane types involved in the drills on Friday.
“Today, my comrades-in-arms and I were ordered to conduct a close-in deterrence mission, in which we looked down at the coastline and the Central Mountain Range of the Taiwan island within visual range,” said Hou Hong, a pilot at a brigade attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Air Force who participated in the drills on Friday.
“We will continue to enhance our combat preparedness so that we can deal with all kinds of crises,” Hou said.
A video clip released by the PLA Eastern Theater Command confirmed that an Su-30 fighter jet flew above the coastline of Taiwan island, with the Central Mountain Range in the background.
The video clip shows that the range of visibility was not optimal and there was cloud in the mission area, but the pilots could still see Taiwan island’s coastline and the Central Mountain Range with their naked eyes, meaning that the PLA aircraft flew very close to the island, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Friday, requesting anonymity.
It displayed the PLA’s absolute superiority and control over the region, the expert said.
At sea, more than 10 destroyers and frigates of the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy conducted blockade operations from different directions surrounding the island on Friday, during which the vessels also practiced realistic combat-oriented training courses including land attack, comprehensive offense and defense as well as joint anti-submarine missions throughout day and night, CCTV reported.
A PLA warship taking part in drills around Taiwan island on Friday approached the island’s coastline as sailors looked closely at an old warship of Taiwan island nearby.
Several frigates, missile boats and road-mobile anti-ship missile units in coastal regions of Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong provinces kept on high alert, as they carried out target acquisitions and mock assaults on key maritime targets to train their maritime strike capabilities, the report said.
The PLA Eastern Theater Command Army’s long-range multiple-launch rocket systems and the Rocket Force’s conventional missile units, which kicked off the drills on Thursday, continued their coordinated operations on Friday.
The PLA exercises surrounding the Taiwan island are scheduled to run from Thursday noon to Sunday noon, meaning they still have a day and a half to go, with analysts saying that it could become routine if “Taiwan independence” secessionists and external interference forces continue the provocation.