PLA Navy announces expanded operating on its official micro blog
The official Weibo micro blog page of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy announced this week that since 2012, the Miyakato Strait near Japan, and the Bashi Channel near Taiwan and the Philippines, have been designated as its proving grounds for routine drills and exercises.
The announcement marks a departure for the PLA Navy, which had previously conducted most of its activities in the Miyakato Strait, which is located between Japan and Taiwan.
The Bashi Channel is a waterway that is part of the Luzon Strait in the Pacific Ocean. It’s situated between outlying islands of Taiwan and the Philippines and serves as a natural but oftendisputed boarder between the two nations.
The PLA Navy’s aim of expanding operations into the Bashi Channel this year may raise con- cerns about a potential impact on Taiwan’s national security.
Asked about China’s announcement, Luo Shao-ho, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said that defense officials were aware of the matter and will continue to monitor developments.
Luo declined to comment further.
Reports have indicated that Chinese armed forces had recently flown through the Bashi Channel and the Miyako Strait to conduct air drills over the western Pacific Ocean.
In 2012, the PLA Navy conducted about 20 naval drills in the western Pacific, and staged a joint naval exercise with its three major fleets — the North Sea Fleet, the East Sea Fleet, and the South Sea Fleet — in October 2013.
At the end of 2014, China’s three main fleets mobilized 18 of its main battle vessels and 21 aircraft to stage the largest and most intense drill in the history of the PLA Navy.
The drills are designed to improve capabilities in aerial dog fighting, rapid mobility and reaction, fleet coordination, long-range and precision attacks, the PLA Navy said.
It also claimed on Weibo that its fleets now extend from coastal China to the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Aden.
China’s Ministry of National Defense in the past two months established a presence on the mainland’s two leading social networking platforms.
The Chinese armed forces’ presence on social networking can be found on Weibo.com and WeChat, the leading messaging app in the country.
The website of China’s Ministry of Defense said that its presence on social networking is aimed at promoting the transparency of the armed forces.