CHINA / MILITARY
PLA expands drills near Taiwan island only one day after setting new record
Published: Oct 03, 2021 12:06 PM
A J-16 fighter jet attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Eastern Theater Command soars into the sky during multiple training sorties on February 16, 2021. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Li Yehong)

A J-16 fighter jet attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Eastern Theater Command soars into the sky during multiple training sorties on February 16, 2021. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Li Yehong)


 
Only one day after the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) dispatched 38 warplanes near the island of Taiwan for exercise on National Day, breaking the previous record set in June, it again refreshed this record on Saturday, sending a total of 39 aircraft of different types near the island during both day and night, according to defense authorities on the island.

The 20 PLA aircraft, namely 14 J-16 fighter jets, four Su-30 fighter jets, and two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, entered the island of Taiwan's self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone on Saturday, Taiwan's defense authorities said in a press release published the same day.

On early Sunday, Taiwan's defense authorities published a separate press release, saying that at Saturday night, 19 additional PLA aircraft, namely 12 J-16 fighter jets, six Su-30 fighter jets and a KJ-500 early warning aircraft, entered the island of Taiwan's self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone. 

Both exercises, featuring a total of 39 PLA aircraft, were held in areas between the island of Taiwan and the Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea, the press releases stated.

This also means that the previous record of 38 PLA warplanes taking part in the drills near the island of Taiwan in a day was eclipsed only one day after it was set.

Chinese mainland military expert Song Zhongping told the Global Times on Saturday that the increasing scale of exercises is normal and routine since the PLA needs more deployment to deter armed forces on the island and foreign interference from other nations.

Nighttime drills are important because combat could take place at any time, Song said.

The record-breaking PLA exercises over the past two days could also be related to recent movements of US aircraft carriers, some other Chinese mainland military analysts said.

Both the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson aircraft carriers were sailing in waters near the island of Taiwan on September 27, the news website of the US Naval Institute reported on the day.
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