PLA holds three combat drills around Taiwan in one month amid US-Taiwan military collusion
US National Guard 'attempts to let island resist reunification with urban warfare'
Published: Jun 01, 2022 04:44 PM Updated: Jun 01, 2022 04:50 PM
Fighter jets attached to an air force aviation brigade under the PLA Southern Theater Command taxi on the runway before taking off in the real-combat flight training on May 11, 2022. ( by Li Zishao)
Fighter jets attached to an air force aviation brigade under the PLA Southern Theater Command taxi on the runway before taking off in the real-combat flight training on May 11, 2022. Photo:China Military

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on Wednesday announced the third large-scale military exercise around the island of Taiwan in the past 30 days targeting US-Taiwan collusion, seeing US Senator Tammy Duckworth off as she was leaving Taiwan following her three-day visit, in which the island's regional leader Tsai Ing-wen said that a cooperation plan between the US National Guard and Taiwan's armed forces was in the works.

It is important for the PLA to enhance concrete combat preparedness in addition to sending just warnings, as the US National Guard's cooperation with Taiwan's armed forces could enhance the latter's urban warfare capability, which marks a further secessionist attempt of resisting reunification by force, according to Chinese mainland experts.

In a necessary action taken in response to US-Taiwan collusion, the PLA Eastern Theater Command recently organized a multi-service joint combat readiness patrol in and above waters around the island of Taiwan, announced Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, in a statement on Wednesday.

This is also the third large-scale military exercise officially announced by the PLA Eastern Theater Command over the past 30 days. A joint exercise surrounding the island of Taiwan from its east and southwest was announced on May 9, and a joint alert patrol plus realistic combat drill in and above the waters around the island was announced on May 25.

The US has been recently making frequent moves on the Taiwan question, saying one thing while doing another, openly or secretly encouraging and supporting the "Taiwan independence" force. Such moves will put Taiwan in a dangerous position, and bring serious consequences on itself, Shi said in the latest statement. 

Taiwan is a part of China, Shi said, noting that troops of the PLA Eastern Theater Command will continue to strengthen training and combat preparedness, improve their ability to fulfill their missions, in order to resolutely thwart any external interference and separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence."

Shi's remarks came after Tsai said that the US Department of Defense is proactively planning cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan's armed forces when she met with Duckworth on Tuesday, but no details were given about the cooperation, Reuters reported. Duckworth was on a surprise three-day visit to Taiwan from Monday to Wednesday.

When Duckworth arrived on the island of Taiwan on Monday, the PLA "greeted her" by sending at least 30 warplanes of nine different types to the vicinity of the island, marking the second largest PLA aircraft activity in 2022, according to information released by the defense authority on the island. Observers said that another round of drills announced by the PLA on Wednesday "saw Duckworth off."

Now that official exchanges between the US and the island of Taiwan have become frequent, what the PLA is doing is not about just warning, but also about preparing for a military conflict, which now seems a real possibility when the US-Taiwan collusion is becoming deeper and deeper and could one day break the bottom line, Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The US National Guard is a US domestic armed force that deals with emergency public incident like anti-terrorism, so the focus of the cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan's armed forces could be urban warfare, as the US wants to enable the island of Taiwan to drag the PLA into a war of attrition using urban warfare when the PLA lands on the island, Song said.

This type of cooperation not only is a new "salami-slicing" tactic, but also shows the US armed forces, both the main forces and the reserves, are now cooperating with Taiwan's armed forces to help them resist reunification by force, which sends a wrong signal that the US supports "Taiwan independence," deviating from the one-China principle, Song said.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Tuesday again hyped the recent drills by the aircraft carrier the Liaoning of the PLA Navy east to the island of Taiwan and south to Japan, saying that Japan pays close attention with concern.

Both Japan and the US are eyeing plans to interfere with the Taiwan question by military means, so the PLA will conduct more trainings with worst-case scenarios as pretext, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The PLA has recently held three large-scale drills, with official announcements specifically highlighting the island of Taiwan, which is rare in recent years, the expert said.

The secessionists and external interference forces should not underestimate the determination and the capability of the PLA in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, experts said.