Chinese Military Launched Amphibious Drills Near Taiwan Amid Rising Provocations

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The Chinese regime’s military said Oct. 11 that it had carried out military drills including simulated beach landings and assaults in Fujian Province, which lies just west from Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait.

Self-ruled Taiwan has decried Beijing’s escalated military harassment in recent weeks that included a record show of force from the regime’s air force over the island’s air defense zone.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, China’s official military newspaper, revealed the drills in a blog post on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, said that “in recent days” an unidentified number of shock troops, sappers, and boat specialists simulated taking a beach in multiple waves.

Also included was a video of Chinese soldiers from the 73rd Group Army storming a beach aboard single-engine dinghies, cutting through barbed wire, and digging trenches.

The 73rd Army Group is a corps-sized unit consisting predominantly of motorized infantry with armor, artillery, air-defense, missile, and engineer elements. The unit has engaged in similar drills throughout the year and is believed to be China’s primary invasion force in its plans for a war with Taiwan.

The drills come at a time of heightened tensions regarding the possibility of a major war over Taiwan, which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims to be part of its own territory.

Over the weekend, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping also reiterated a vow that Taiwan would be “reunified” with the mainland, and blamed continued commitment to Taiwan’s independence as a major threat to his plan of so-called “national rejuvenation,” a goal which observers say indicate Xi’s desire to transform the regime into the world’s sole superpower by mid-century.

“Taiwan independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland, and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation,” he said.

The comments followed a record number of incursions by the Chinese military into Taiwan’s air defense zone, wherein some 150 PLA aircraft entered into the area since the beginning of this month.

The intrusions drew a promise from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen that the island would do “whatever it takes” to defend its continued independence and democratic way of life from CCP totalitarianism.

The PLA did not overtly link its drills in Fujian to the ongoing escalation of tensions with Taiwan. The province would, however, likely play a central role in any PLA invasion of Taiwan due to its geographic proximity to the island and significant number of active PLA elements.

Fujian is only some 80 miles away from Taiwan at the narrowest part of the Taiwan Strait, and is part of the greater Nanjing Military Region which houses three active army groups, totaling between 100,000 to 300,000 troops.

Andrew Thornebrooke

Andrew Thornebrooke

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Andrew Thornebrooke is a freelance reporter covering China-related issues with a focus on defense and security. He holds a MA in military history from Norwich University and authors the newsletter Quixote Hyperdrive.



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