BEIJING, April 6, AP - Despite the coronavirus outbreak, China is keeping up with military exercises around Taiwan at the northern edge of the South China Sea.
The People’s Liberation Army Daily and other state media reported last week that the Eastern Theater Command responsible for patrols around Taiwan held endurance training with early-warning aircraft last month.
The drill included practicing tactics to evade enemy aircraft as well as carrying out early-warning, reconnaissance and surveillance missions, the report said.
It also included simulated combat between two groups of fighter jets, according to the report.
China has increasingly staged aerial drills around Taiwan, including circumnavigating the island it claims as its own territory, to be conquered by military force if necessary.
“The People’s Liberation Army has the firm will, full confidence, and sufficient capabilities to thwart all secessionist activities and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, ” Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said at March’s monthly briefing.
Taiwan and China have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, although Taiwan has limited its activities to its island base in the Spratly group and the Pratas islands southeast of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post quoted experts as saying the exercise was intended to “enhance China’s intelligence-gathering capabilities to better monitor activities at sea and in the air.”
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