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Global Times

PLA announces large-scale, live-fire drills in Yellow Sea

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/21 23:28:40

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will hold large-scale, live-fire exercises in the Yellow Sea from Saturday to Wednesday, and Chinese military experts predicted on Friday that the drills could feature anti-ship, air defense and anti-submarine exercises to prepare for possible military conflicts with the US, which has been frequently sending bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and warships near China.

Issued by PLA Unit 91208 and local maritime authorities on Friday, a navigation restriction notice said that the drills will be held in a vast region of waters east of Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, and Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu Province, with other ships prohibited from entering the designated areas.

The notice did not provide further details on the drills.

According to the Qingdao government, PLA Unit 91208 is attached to the Navy, and similar drills in the area have taken place multiple times in the past, including in September 2016, July 2017 and August 2017.

Judging from the large area and the description of "large-scale," Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday that the drills are likely to feature anti-ship, air defense and anti-submarine exercises.

The drills could also be joint exercises that feature multiple military branches based in different regions of the country, Song said, noting that this could mean that these exercises could be linked to the recent consecutive, realistic drills in the Taiwan Straits.

The US has been frequently sending bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and warships near China, particularly in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Straits.

Additionally, the US Pacific Air Forces sent four B-1 and two B-2 bombers in simultaneous missions on Tuesday in the Sea of Japan and Indian Ocean, with some aircraft coordinating with the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group near Japan at one point, US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on Wednesday.

Song said that the PLA should not only prepare for battle in the South China Sea and East China Sea, but also in the Yellow Sea, because the goal of these drills should be joint operations, and troops from Northern, Eastern and Southern theater commands should be capable of cross-regional joint combat.

If a military conflict breaks out, it will likely not be restricted to one sea region, but interconnected, Song stressed.

The latest drills also mark that there have been major PLA exercises in the three major sea regions of China, namely the South China Sea, East China Sea, and Yellow Sea, in this summer, analysts noted.

Qingdao is also the home port of the Liaoning aircraft carrier. According to Sina Military and commercial satellite images on Monday and Wednesday, the Liaoning was not in its base.

It is not known if the Chinese aircraft carrier will participate in the drills.

Chinese military enthusiasts also said they hope to see the Nanchang, China's first 10,000 ton-class Type 055 destroyer, and potentially the second Type 055 destroyer in the drills.

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