China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) staged a large-scale exercise simulating an island invasion on Saturday, the same day as Taiwan’s National Day holiday, Chinese state media reported on Monday.
The military drills featured PLA “drones, special forces, and airborne troops, and saw forces moving from multiple locations in the coastal [Chinese] provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, some of them by night,” China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
The nation of Taiwan is located about 100 miles east of China’s southeastern coast, where the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian are located.
The PLA released a video of the exercises on Sunday in which it described the mock beach assault in detail.
“As the drill began at night, several formations of amphibious armored vehicles headed to designated areas,” the Chinese army wrote.
“Armed reconnaissance approached the ‘enemy’ beach and relayed observation information back to the command post. The commander immediately ordered the artillery to open fire, destroying the enemy artillery and missile launching positions,” according to the report.
“Covered by artillery fire from the air and ground, the amphibious assault group changed formations and immediately marched onto the shoreline,” the PLA relayed.
Taiwan operates as a sovereign state with its own military and democratic government. Despite this, Beijing regards the island as a breakaway territory and has vowed to reunify Taiwan with China by force, if necessary.
Saturday’s PLA exercises coincided with Taiwan’s National Day. Also known as Double Ten Day, the holiday commemorates the start of an uprising that overthrew the Qing dynasty in China, laying the groundwork for the founding of the Republic of China in 1912.
The PLA announced on Saturday that it would hold “another live-fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait, starting on Tuesday [October 12] and lasting for four days,” the South China Morning Post reported.
“The drill will be held off the Gulei Peninsula in Fujian province, according to a notice from the local maritime authorities — a location on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait [which separates China and Taiwan] to Kaohsiung city,” the report stated.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday called for “meaningful dialogue” with Beijing while urging China to improve cross-strait relations and reduce its antagonism toward the independent island.
“As long as the Beijing authorities are willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations, while parity and dignity are maintained, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue,” she said in her official National Day address.
“We are committed to upholding cross-strait stability, but this is not something Taiwan can shoulder alone; it is the joint responsibility of both sides,” Tsai added.
“Adequate preparation and reliance on the determination and strength of solid national defense capabilities is the only way to guarantee Taiwan’s security and maintain regional peace,” the president said.
“Harassment by air and sea from [China’s People’s Liberation Army] has raised tensions in the Taiwan Strait,” Tsai noted.
“In order to avoid potential conflicts due to miscalculations or accidents, we will address threats to regional peace and stability by upholding our principle of neither fearing nor seeking war,” the president stated.