Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA)’s recently-held military drills on its south-east coast may have involved all five military branches in a large scale joint exercise, Beijing-based military experts have said.
“The recently announced PLA drills near the southeast coast of the Chinese mainland may have featured all five military branches in a large scale joint exercise. It might be tailored as a warning to Taiwan secessionists,” mainland military insiders were quoted as saying by Global Times.
China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, that the PLA had in “recent days” carried out an exercise in the water and air space including China’s southeast coastal areas.
The exercise was a routine arrangement in accordance with the PLA's plans for this year, the ministry said.
“While a regular exercise along the southeast coast may not seem special, it's unusual for the Defense Ministry to actively announce it. Anything the ministry releases is no small matter, it must be big,” a military expert said.
Routine drills had been conducted near the southeast coast in 2014, 2016 and in 2018. In those cases, confirmation from the ministry came after the media reported it.
The Sunday statement by the Defense Ministry did not specify which branches could be involved in the drills, only saying that it was the PLA, so all five military branches - the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force - could be participants in this possibly high-level, large-scale joint exercise, the report said.
Foreign media suggested that the PLA exercise might be connected to the US’ approval to sell $2.2 Billion worth arms- consisting of 108 M1A2T Abrams Tanks, 254 Stinger man portable missiles and related equipment, to Taiwan on July 9, 2019.
"We will impose sanctions on US companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan," said foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.
"The arms sales to Taiwan by the US are serious violations of the international law, the basic norms of international relations, the one-China principle and the three joint communiques between China and the United States," Geng said, adding that the sales undermined China's sovereignty and national security.