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China says its navy, air force encircled Taiwan in ‘realistic’ annexation drill

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(TibetanReview.net, May09’22) – China said May 8 that it had been conducting since about a week ago what it called a realistic combat training mission for the annexation of Taiwan, encircling the island with all sorts of warships, including the Liaoning aircraft carrier group, and warplanes, watched “provocatively” by the navies of the USA and Japan.

With the carrier group to Taiwan’s east, the PLA also dispatched an increased number of different types of warplanes and additional warships from the Chinese mainland west of the island of Taiwan, effectively surrounding and enclosing the island under the watch of US and Japanese aircraft carriers, which are serving as “perfect practice partners” for the PLA drills, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn May 8, citing analysts.

The Philippine Sea where the Liaoning carrier group was holding drills is a vital sea region should a reunification-by-force operation take place, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of Chinese mainland magazine Shipborne Weapons, was cited as saying.

Shi has boasted that by moving in tandem with aerial and maritime forces from the Chinese mainland, the carrier group could completely cut off the routes foreign forces may take if they militarily interfere with the Taiwan question, and this will bring significant advantages to the PLA.

And just as the Liaoning carrier group was practicing to the east of Taiwan, a total of 31 PLA aircraft sorties featuring H-6 bombers, J-11 and J-16 fighter jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft, Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft and electronic warfare aircraft, as well as Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare helicopters flew over the island’s southwest and southeast from May 5 to 8.

Shi has said that by featuring many powerful vessels, the Liaoning carrier group was already mighty by itself. It is possible that the carrier group and the forces from the mainland were having a joint exercise, testing different combinations of forces, practicing and enhancing all kinds of tactics, he has added.

While Captain Gao Xiucheng, a spokesperson of the PLA Navy, has maintained that the Liaoning carrier group’s drills were not targeted at another party, the report cited an unnamed Beijing-based military expert as saying it was always one of the PLA’s greatest goals to liberate Taiwan and achieve national reunification, “and all secessionists and external interferences are by default potential targets of the PLA.”

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