PLA conducts combat exercise near Taiwan as US warship sails through the Straits
Published: Sep 18, 2021 03:20 PM Updated: Sep 18, 2021 04:42 PM
A naval fleet comprised of the guided-missile destroyers Ningbo (Hull 139) and Taiyuan (Hull 131), as well as the guided-missile frigate Nantong (Hull 601), steams in astern formation in waters of the East China Sea during a maritime training drill in late January, 2021.Photo:China Military

Photo:China Military

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on Saturday said it has dispatched naval and air forces to conduct joint patrols and combat exercises in the waters and airspace southwest of Taiwan after a US warship transited the Taiwan Straits to provoke China concerning its sovereignty over the island again on Friday.

The official website of the US 7th fleet released a statement on Friday that said a US warship - the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry - sailed through the Taiwan Straits. 

The PLA Eastern Theater Command Spokesperson Senior Colonel Shi Yi said on Saturday that the PLA has organized troops to follow, supervise and monitor the US ship throughout its passage in the Taiwan Straits. These frequent provocations fully prove that the US is undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits, and creating risks in the region.

"The troops of the command theater remain on high alert all the time, and will firmly safeguard the security of national sovereignty and the peace and stability of the region," Shi said in a statement released by the PLA Eastern Theater Command.

Also on Friday, the PLA Eastern Theater Command dispatched naval and air forces, including combat vessels, early warning aircraft and bombers, to conduct joint patrols and combat exercises in the waters and airspace southwest of Taiwan Island, Shi said on Saturday. 

The actions are intended to improve the integrated joint combat capabilities of the troops under the PLA Eastern Theater Command, and the actions will be normalized according to the situation of the Taiwan Straits and the requirements for safeguarding national sovereignty, the spokesperson noted.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Saturday that the US warship's transit through the Taiwan Straits is about sending a provocative message, and to encourage Taiwan secessionism, but the US military is not ready for a war with the PLA. 

So the PLA's action in the region is not just targeting any specific move made by the US, because the US' intention is clear, and what the PLA is doing is about preparing for the worst case scenario - an all-out military intervention made by US and its allies, and only by doing so, the PLA will be able to defeat all kinds of enemies, especially the foreign interventionist forces, when China launches an operation to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, Song said.

"There is no secret that the military exercises the PLA has conducted around Taiwan are targeting secessionist forces on the island and any foreign forces that support them. We can openly tell them that we are treating them as simulated enemies during those relevant military exercises," he said.

Global Times