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China showcases readiness to sacrifice its troops to annex Taiwan

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(, Aug07’23) – Through an eight-part documentary, China has sought to make it clear that it is ready to attack Taiwan at any time, that its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers are willing to sacrifice themselves in trying to annex the democratically self-governed nation, marking its 96th PLA anniversary on Aug 1.

The documentary, “Chasing Dreams”, aired by state broadcaster CCTV last week, features military drills and testimonials by dozens of soldiers from various divisions, of which several express their willingness to die in a potential attack against Taiwan, noted the AP Aug 7.

The documentary showcased, among other things, the PLA’s “joint sword” drills, which simulated precision strikes against Taiwan. The exercises were undertaken around the self-governed island in April after a visit by the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, to the US.

“If war broke out and the conditions were too difficult to safely remove the naval mines in actual combat, we would use our own bodies to clear a safe pathway for our [landing] forces,” Zuo Feng, a frogman with the PLA navy’s minesweeper unit, has said.

Likewise, Li Peng, a pilot from Wang Hai Squadron under the PLA air force, has said his “fighter jet would be the last missile rushing towards the enemy if, in a real battle, I had used up all my ammunition”.

And Fan Lizhong, a special tactics unit commander, has said that while losing comrades was painful, he had to remain calm to respond to emergencies and always be ready to fight.

The documentary also features Shandong, one of China’s three aircraft carriers, sailing in formation with several other warships.

The PLA has repeatedly dispatched Shandong to the Taiwan Strait over the past few months as a threat to Taiwan. PLA jets have also crossed the strait’s median line – an informal demarcation zone between China and Taiwan – relatively often over the past couple of years, especially in reaction to exchanges between Taiwan and the US that have angered Beijing, the report noted.

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Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) has tracked 24 Chinese military aircraft and seven naval vessels around island between 6 am on Sunday (Aug 6) and 6 am on Monday (Aug 7), reported Aug 7.

It said Taiwan sent aircraft, naval ships, and used land-based missile systems to monitor the PLA activity.

So far this month, Beijing has sent 72 military aircraft and 52 naval ship sorties around Taiwan.

Since Sep 2020, China has increased its use of gray zone tactics by incrementally increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan, the report said.

Gray zone tactics are defined as “an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.”

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China’s “state media and the PLA frequently release propaganda materials promoting the army’s modernization as well as sleek videos of military drills,” said the AP report said.

“The materials serve to fan rising Chinese nationalism and display military confidence against Taiwan and, implicitly, its ties with the United States. While the US doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country, it has pledged to help the island defend itself in case of an invasion,” the report added.

“Last month, the White House announced a $345 million military aid package for Taiwan. The move, which experts said drew on lessons from the US military assistance to Ukraine, was criticized by Beijing,” the report said.


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