By Liu Xuanzun
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday launched joint drills featuring naval and air forces near the island of Taiwan, one day after it conducted a combat readiness drill which saw its warplanes encircle the island.
For two consecutive days, concentrated military operations surrounding Taiwan have demonstrated PLA's capabilities to solve the Taiwan question by force amid Taiwan secessionist plans, experts said.
Naval and air forces with the PLA Eastern Theater Command on Monday conducted joint drills in the southeastern waters of the island of Taiwan, said Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, a PLA Eastern Theater Command spokesperson, in a statement released by the Ministry of National Defense on Monday.
Citing Taiwan's defense authority, Taiwan news website udn.com reported on Monday that PLA aircraft including H-6 bombers and fighter jets crossed the Bashi Channel on Monday morning flying into the western Pacific, and returned on the same course.
The joint drills on Monday came only one day after PLA forces conducted a combat readiness drill on Sunday with warships, bombers, jet fighters, and early warning aircraft. The combat planes cruised through the Bashi Channel and Miyako Strait and conducted real combat-oriented training.
Unlike Sunday's operation, PLA fighter jets crossed the "middle line" of the Taiwan Straits on Monday, udn.com said.
Song Zhongping, a mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday the concentrated PLA drills are not only warnings to Taiwan secessionists, but also demonstrations of PLA capabilities to solve the Taiwan question by force.
The recent drills on Monday mainly focused on real-combat scenarios including air-to-land assault and fire support, which trained and tested troop capabilities in joint operations, said Zhang.
Song said these trainings are real-combat oriented and will be useful in potential battles against Taiwan's military force.
Taiwan secessionist forces are disregarding the greater national interests, intensifying its scheme pursuing "independence," going against the trend and the will of the people, Zhang said, noting that the PLA Eastern Theater Command troops are always on high alert, closely following the situation and are ready to resolutely fulfill its missions.
An authoritative source who declined to be named told the Global Times after the first operation on Sunday that Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party has been increasingly colluding with the US, attempting with the US to confront the Chinese mainland, planning Lai Ching-te's US visit, seeking "independence."