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Global Times

PLA Navy's two newly commissioned minesweepers hold exercises

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Published: Apr 07, 2021 12:16 AM

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently commissioned two new mine countermeasure vessels, or MCMV, and deployed them in a recent all-day exercise. Analysts said on Tuesday that minesweeping capacity is important for the PLA in the Taiwan Straits.

A minesweeper flotilla attached to the PLA Northern Theater Command Navy, including the Rongcheng, the Yucheng, the Huimin and the Zhijiang, recently conducted a maritime exercise in an undisclosed area in the Yellow Sea for four days and nights, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.

The drill featured multiple modules and all combat factors, as the four MCMVs combined techniques of locating, dismantling and probing together, using sonar devices to detect suspected sea mines at night and clear them with a variety of equipment during the day, CCTV reported.

This is the first maritime training exercise the Huimin and the Zhijiang have participated in since they entered service, according to CCTV.

Media reported last year that the US was pushing an arms sales surge to the island of Taiwan, including smart, underwater sea mines. Taiwan has also been constructing minelayer vessels.

By laying mines in the Taiwan Straits, the island is attempting to slow down a potential PLA amphibious landing. Taiwan wrongly believes that the PLA would need a long time to clear the mines before launching a full scale amphibious assault. With this measures, it thinks it can buy enough time and wait for US reinforcements, experts said at that time.

The PLA has a tradition of paying heavy attention to minesweeping operations, Shi Hong, Executive Chief Editor of the Chinese mainland magazine, Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Taiwan not only wants to use sea mines around the island, but also plans to seal off mainland ports, Shi said, noting that if the US or Japanese forces interfere militarily in the Taiwan question, they could also use sea mines. The newly developed American smart mines could prove themselves to be a huge threat.

Under this circumstances, it is very important for the PLA to constantly enhance its minesweeping capabilities, Shi said.

The Huimin and the Zhijiang MCMVs were able to join the exercise shortly after commissioning and this shows that they are gaining operational capabilities very fast. The PLA Navy's talent cultivation program can also match the speed of its warship construction program, Shi said.

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