Taiwan island's intensive military exercises a political show to cover its weakness: analysts
Published: Feb 18, 2021 11:18 PM

Two fighter jets attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Eastern Theater Command taxi to the runway in preparation for a round-the-clock flight training exercise on January 11, 2021. ( by Fu Gan)

The island of Taiwan has reportedly arranged intensive military exercises in February and March in areas where aircraft of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the US military often visit. 

The arrangement possibly was intended to suppress the PLA's frequent visits to the area in recent months, but, it would be nothing more than a political show to deceive its residents and cover its weakness, mainland observers said.

Taiwan island news website reported on Wednesday that the island's naval forces will conduct exercises on Monday afternoon in surrounding waters of Bashi Channel and the southwest airspace of the island where PLA aircraft and the US military aircraft frequently appear. 

Intensive routine live firing exercises in the South China Sea will be conducted in February and March. Tests on a kind of special missile will also be conducted in the east waters of the island on the upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday as well as on March 3 and 4, according to the report. 

The arrangement came after PLA's nearly daily visits to the island in January, which showed the Taiwan secessionists that the one-China principle will not change, regardless of what policies from the new US administration could be, analysts said.

"It is easy to understand that the intensive exercises are intended to increase the island's existence in these areas and a so-called countermeasure to the PLA's frequent visits in the past months," Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

However, due to the low frequency and intensity of the military trainings on the Taiwan island, as well as the performance of their weapons, compared to the PLA's, the so-called countermeasure would only be political posturing to the residents on the island to show that the military on the island are "doing something" although the thing they do would be a little value, Song said. 

The exercises are also a political show meant to cover up the island military's weaknesses and inabilities exposed over the past weeks amid drills by the PLA, mainland analysts said.

Some netizens worry whether conflicts would occur between the PLA and the island's military forces, but Song said that such a possibility is low as the island would not dare to provoke.

Some observers said that rather than conflicts with the PLA, what the island needs to worry about is to prevent accidents during the exercises given the reports of an air crash and a missile missing target during their exercises. 

According to media reports, in a drill on the island in July, three soldiers were critically wounded after falling overboard. Two of the soldiers died on July 5 and the other one died in September after being hospitalized for two months.   

Global Times