TAI­WAN INVASION EX­ER­CISE

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

More than 20,000 Chi­nese sol­diers, sailors and air­men car­ried out a bois­ter­ous joint-op­er­a­tion ex­er­cise this month, with Tai­wan as the ap­par­ent sim­u­lated tar­get of a Nor­mandy-style invasion.

Code-named Mis­sion 2013B, the ex­er­cises are the third in­stall­ment this year of a se­ries of mil­i­tary drills. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ex­er­cise are ground troops from the 42nd Army of the Guangzhou Mil­i­tary Re­gion com­mand — the mil­i­tary’s crack force that was the main fight­ing unit dur­ing the Korean War and the 1979 invasion of Viet­nam.

Air force units, sur­face war­ships and am­phibi­ous ves­sels, and elec­tronic war­fare groups from the Guangzhou and Nan­jing re­gion com­mands also formed a key por­tion of the war games.

In Septem­ber, an ear­lier ex­er­cise, Mis­sion 2013A, in­volved more than 40,000 troops from mul­ti­ple ser­vices aimed at a large-scale is­land invasion ei­ther in the South China Sea or East China Sea where China has en­coun­tered strong re­sis­tance to its claims of ter­ri­to­rial or mar­itime as­sets.

A third ex­er­cise, Mis­sion 2013C, was con­ducted and di­rected pri­mar­ily by the air force.

China’s state me­dia en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­ported the cur­rent Guangzhou ex­er­cise. State-run China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion (CCTV) promi­nently fea­tured the drill from mul­ti­ple an­gles, in­clud­ing a dis­play of an op­er­a­tional map of Tai­wan and nearby is­lands that were marked as key mil­i­tary tar­gets.

“The ex­er­cise will test dozens of new fight­ing meth­ods de­vel­oped by our troops in a live-fire en­vi­ron­ment,” CCTV re­ported dur­ing an evening prime-time broad­cast.

Another key fea­ture of the ex­er­cises was to show off joint mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions across a vast ter­ri­tory un­der two or more of China’s seven mil­i­tary re­gional com­mands.

Dur­ing the three ex­er­cises so far, the Nan­jing and Guangzhou Mil­i­tary Re­gion com­mands played the cen­tral role in link­ing each com­mand by rapidly trans­port­ing tens of thou­sands of troops and mul­ti­ple weapons plat­forms — in­clud­ing tanks, mis­siles, air­craft, sur­face and am­phibi­ous war­ships, radar and other lo­gis­tics items — in China’s south­ern and south­east­ern mar­itime prov­inces.

Another em­pha­sis is to com­man­deer and mo­bi­lize large civil­ian trans­porta­tion as­sets in­clud­ing the re­gional rail­way, high­way and civil avi­a­tion sys­tems and in­dus­tries that will par­tic­i­pate in fu­ture op­er­a­tions.

Also stressed in the ex­er­cises is the need for the mil­i­tary to in­te­grate com­bat in­for­ma­tion and com­mand sys­tems op­er­ated by var­i­ous units and ser­vice branches.

“Dur­ing this ex­er­cise, we will em­pha­size the lead­ing role of in­for­ma­tion war­fare in a real war,” said Gen. Zhou Shang­ping, chief of op­er­a­tions at the Guangzhou Mil­i­tary Re­gion head­quar­ters.

“We will but­tress our in­for­ma­tion war­fare with our solid sup­port sys­tems, and we will fight our war with our skilled and trained troops,” said Gen. Zhou who was ex­ten­sively in­ter­viewed by CCTV.

“This ex­er­cise will be con­ducted in var­i­ous pos­si­ble bat­tle sce­nar­ios in­clud­ing con­di­tions of dan­ger, dif­fi­culty and risk, with the ob­jec­tive of en­hanc­ing our ca­pa­bil­i­ties of joint com­mand, joint op­er­a­tions and joint sup­port.”

All mil­i­tary units have been on a binge of drills since Xi Jin­ping took over last Novem­ber as China’s supreme leader. Yet there have been many cases of false re­port­ing on drill out­comes to head­quar­ters com­man­ders.

“We are not afraid of our prob­lems and short­com­ings be­ing ex­posed dur­ing this ex­er­cise ... and are de­ter­mined to sweep the trend of for­mal­ism and fraud out of the ex­er­cise fields,” CCTV quoted one se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cial as say­ing.

The dis­play of an op­er­a­tional mil­i­tary map of Tai­wan dur­ing Mis­sion 2013B caused a big stir in the demo­cratic is­land na­tion that is claimed by China.

Tai­wan’s United Daily News cited sources in China as claim­ing the ma­neu­ver was de­signed to in­tim­i­date Tai­wan, which so far has re­fused to en­gage in ne­go­ti­a­tions for a “po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment” with China. Tai­wanese Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-yeou’s main­land pol­icy has been viewed as slav­ishly ac­com­mo­dat­ing to China.

Miles Yu’s col­umn ap­pears Fri­days. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @Yu_miles.

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