PLA Navy an­nounces ex­panded op­er­at­ing on its of­fi­cial mi­cro blog

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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 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.

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