- China announced that it would start five simultaneous military exercises in different coastal waters on Monday.
- This is the second time that China has held multiple rounds of military exercises simultaneously in the past two months.
- Two of the military exercises were held near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
Reuters reported that as the situation in the Taiwan Strait became increasingly tense, China announced that it would start five simultaneous military exercises in different coastal waters on Monday. This is the second time that China has held multiple rounds of military exercises simultaneously in the past two months.
Two of the military exercises were held near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The relevant notice from the China Maritime Safety Administration stated that military exercises will also be held in the East China Sea and the waters north of the Bohai Bay.
Another official Chinese announcement stated that the military will conduct live-fire drills in the southern waters of the Yellow Sea from Monday to Wednesday. Therefore, ships are prohibited from entering the aforementioned waters.
China’s Hainan Sansha Maritime Safety Administration issued “Qiong Hang Jing 0087” and “Qian Hang Jing 0088,” indicating that military training will be carried out within the line of the announcement coordinates from 7 am to 3 pm on Monday.
In addition, the Huludao Maritime Safety Administration also issued an announcement on Sunday that the PLA will perform military missions in the Bohai Sea from 05:00 to 12:00 on September 28.
In order to enhance the actual combat capability of the military, the Chinese military often conducts military exercises, but it is rare that several military exercises are conducted simultaneously.
Last month, China announced that it would hold four different military exercises simultaneously in the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, and the South China Sea. Chinese military experts said that such arrangements for military exercises are unusual.
During the Chinese military exercise last month, the US sent reconnaissance planes into China’s no-fly zone. The Chinese side lodged a “stern representation” with the United States in this regard.
For some time, bilateral relations between China and the United States have become increasingly tense. The disputes between the two sides include Taiwan, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, and human rights issues.
China has obviously increased its military pressure against Taiwan. During a visit to Taiwan by Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach two weeks ago, China announced the holding of Taiwan naval exercises and sent military aircraft across the “center of the strait.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s military exercises in the Taiwan Strait “military intimidation.” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense condemned the PLA’s military planes for repeatedly crossing the middle line of the Strait and violating Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded that the Taiwan Strait exercise is “a legitimate and necessary action taken in response to the current situation across the Taiwan Strait to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“While the Chinese people have suffered the worst environmental impacts of its actions, Beijing also threatens the global economy and global health by unsustainably exploiting natural resources and exporting its willful disregard for the environment,” the document issued last week by the US State Department.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that the US State Department official who visited Taiwan two weeks ago was assistant secretary for political-military affairs Clarke Cooper. The State Department says it was in fact Keith Krach who visited. We regret the error.