Tue, Apr 17, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Chinese drill ‘not significant’: officials

‘PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE’:Tomorrow’s drill is a far cry from the ones held in 1995 and 1996, when the PLA simulated missile attacks and marine landings, an expert said

Staff writer, with CNA

National Security Bureau Director-General Peng Sheng-chu talks to reporters at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

A Chinese military exercise scheduled to take place in the Taiwan Strait tomorrow is just a routine drill of no major significance, and the nation’s military has not increased its level of combat readiness, Ministry of National Defense and security officials said yesterday.

“The military has not raised its normal level of combat readiness,” the ministry’s Office for Operations and Planning Director Lieutenant-General Chiang Chen-chung (姜振中) said.

“The military is fully prepared to deter any foreign attack,” he said in response to questions from lawmakers on the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

National Security Bureau Director-General Peng Sheng-chu (彭勝竹) agreed, saying that the scale of the Chinese military exercise is roughly at a battalion level, and it is not aimed at any specific political party in Taiwan.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would hold the exercise in its Shishi target area, which it has been using since 2007, Peng said.

Similar to China’s previous military exercises in the region, it is not large-scale and would be confined to a small area, Peng said prior to the legislative meeting.

The exercise is to run from 8am until midnight in waters off Quanzhou in China’s Fujian Province.

Former National Security Council deputy secretary-general Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐) said the exercise was just a form of psychological warfare employed by China to put pressure on Taiwan.

“It is a far cry from the 1996 missile crisis triggered by a joint military exercise across the Taiwan Strait. This one is much smaller and will only last a day,” he said in a radio interview.

Asked if the military exercises held in 1995 and 1996 and those planned for tomorrow have similarities, Chang said the differences were more significant.

“The area where Chinese troops held military exercises in 1996 simulating joint attacks on Taiwan actually crossed over the median line of the Taiwan Strait,” Chang said.

Those exercises were far more ambitious, simulating missile attacks to destroy Taiwan’s airports, operations to attain supremacy in waters and airspace near Taiwan, and marine corps landings in coastal areas in western and eastern Taiwan, Chang said.

“This time, China’s official media have deliberately played up [the drill],” he said.

The Global Times in particular has been using the Internet to engage in psychological warfare, he said.

“We cannot deny the fact that the PLA has made progress compared with 20 years ago, but sometimes they go too far and are not humble enough,” Chang said.

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