China has unveiled a range of new weapons that include long-range missiles and others for sea and air combat amid calls by its top officials to be combat-ready following UN-backed tribunal verdict which stuck down China’s rights in South China Sea.
The Southern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) which looks after the South China Sea front has unveiled a series of new weapons during a visit by top military officers.
The weapons were shown on state television in the wake of international tribunal rejecting Beijing's claims to almost all of the South China Sea and upheld the claim of the Philippines, PTI reported Friday.
Military experts said the rare public display was intended to show that the newly formed Southern Theatre Command, was well- prepared for any potential military confrontation with the US, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported today.
The display conceded with the visit to the centre by General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), China's highest military official after President Xi Jinping. Xi heads the CMC and the overall high command of the PLA.
Fan has called on troops to be ready for combat and for improvements in equipment and logistical preparation.
Officers and soldiers need to be aware of current threats to China's sovereignty, security and interests; state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying in an official statement.
He asked the military to research combat methods and strategies pertinent to different situations and foster Special Forces reserved for key missions and scenarios.
"Air and sea patrols should be tightly organised to handle all kinds of emergencies and safeguard air and sea security in border areas," Fan said.
Fan was accompanied by Gen Ma Xiaotian, commander of the PLA Air Force and General Wei Fenghe, chief of the army's Rocket Force, which operates the country's missile arsenal.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said Fan's visit indicated that the southern command could carry out joint combat operations of land, rocket, naval and air forces as well as other strategic support forces.
"All the weapons showed on state media are defensive arms of short to medium range within 1,500 km, meaning China so far is using restrained deterrence to warn the US not to challenge Beijing's bottom line in the South China Sea," Li said.
State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of troops in the southern theatre handling the DF-16 missile, which has a range up to 1,000 km, the report said.
The missile, which was first displayed on September 3 last year in a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, could strike US military bases in Okinawa.
Beijing is considering fortifying South China Sea with increase in the number of defensive weapons, increase civilian construction and expand airports on some of the islands depending on the threat level. Apart from the airports, other civilian facilities include maritime 4G signals to all seven inhabited islets in the Nansha Islands
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force will conduct combat air patrols in the disputed South China Sea on regular basis. The PLA Air Force recently conducted a combat air patrol with H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, a military spokesperson said Xinhua on Monday, adding that the patrols will become a "regular" practice in the future
The territorial row in South China Sea has further escalated with an incident where Chinese coast guard vessels prevented members of a Filipino nationalist youth group from planting a Philippine flag on a rocky outcrop at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal last Sunday. The incident between the Chinese and the Kalayaan Atin Ito movement (Freedom Its Ours) took place as the country was commemorating Independence Day and just as foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries and China were preparing for a meeting in Kunming to discuss territorial rows in the hotly contested South China Sea, The Philippine Star reported
The Philippines has chosen to stop allowing the US, its defense ally, from staging patrols in its territory for South China Sea missions, in order to smooth out territorial disputes with China. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines will not allow its territory to be used as a staging ground for US patrols, AP reports
Indonesian Air Force will hold its largest military exercise this week near some of its islands in South China Sea. “We want to show our existence in the area
Even as Japan has announced the deployment of US-made F-35 Stealth fighters, Chinese media has claimed that the home-grown stealth aircraft, the J-20 has completed its research and development phase and is entering the stage of mass production. The production is slated at two fighters per month and at this rate, China may be able to deploy 36 J-20 fighters by early 2018
Southeast nations failed to agree on maritime disputes in South China Sea after Cambodia blocked mention to the international court ruling against Beijing. The Philippines and Vietnam both wanted a communiqué issued by ASEAN foreign ministers after their meeting to refer to the ruling and the need to respect international law, ASEAN diplomats were quoted as saying by
China unveiled the worlds largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 on Saturday, which will be used to perform marine rescue missions and fight forest fires. The production line was rolled off in the southern city of Zhuhai on Saturday, Xinhua reported
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