China’s 18 army corps have been reorganized into 13 army corps, Hong Kong-based military analyst Leung Kwok-leung (梁國樑) said.
The veteran journalist yesterday said that the 13 new army corps of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will also use new numeric designations that start from 71.
The PLA has had 70 army corps in its history and the new numbers are simply an extension of that tradition, he said.
According to his information, the new 71st, 72nd and 73rd army corps will be placed under the Eastern Theater Command, the 74th and 75th under the Southern Theater Command, and the 76th and 77th corps under the Western Theater Command, he said.
The remaining are to be equally divided between the Northern Theater Command and the Central Theater Command, he said.
Sources have said that the PLA’s 15th airborne army is likely to be upgraded as the new 84th Airborne Army Corps, an indication that China is trying to improve its airborne forces, Leung said.
He said he expects the new 84th Airborne Army Corps to include an airborne assault group similar to that of the US 101st Airborne Division.
In related news, a military Web site run by Beijing’s Global Times yesterday reported that the new vice head of the 76th Army Corps visited a commemoration event for the Red Army in Gansu Province days ago.
The report is the first time the name of the new 76th Army Corps has been officially mentioned.
In developments in Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense on Sunday said that the annual Han Kuang exercises will begin on May 25, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been invited to watch the drills.
Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said the invitation was delivered to the Presidential Office, but the ministry has not yet received a response.
Several media reports on Sunday said that in preparation for the war games the ministry would conduct drills on May 9 and May 16 in which F-16s will fire AGM-65 Maverick missiles over the Penghu Islands.
However, Chen would not comment on the reports, saying only that “everything is being carefully planned based on our original plans.”
As usual there are to be two stages to the Han Kuang exercises, one focused on computer-simulations and the other centered on live-fire drills.
This year’s exercises will be conducted under the scenario of a PLA deployment in 2025 and include F-35 jets as a parameter in the computerized war games to simulate combat tactics and strategies, ministry officials said.
Live-fire drills will be carried out in Penghu on May 25, with the army, navy and air force participating.
There had been speculation in February that the ministry would forgo live-fire drills in this year’s war games, delaying them until next year, because the ministry has been adjusting the nation’s defense strategies to meet President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) goal of overhauling the military and national defenses.
This will be the 33rd year that the ministry has organized the Han Kuang’s exercises, but the first time that they will be held in May. The drills have traditionally been staged in August.
Tainan City Councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sparked further controversy when he echoed remarks by KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰) that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be executed for an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases. Chen heads the Central Epidemic Command Center. Lu at a question-and-answer session at the Tainan City Council said that a lapse in disease prevention measures at China Airlines, which has led to a cluster infection, could have been controlled. However, as the airline’s pilots were allowed a shortened quarantine period of three days and were placed
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EYES AND EARS: The navy has commissioned the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to manufacture radars to upgrade the nation’s naval monitoring stations A military enthusiast yesterday posted photographs of Taiwanese F-16 jets taking off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with two refueling aircraft, presumably returning to Taiwan from the US for upgrades. Asked about the matter, the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment. The jets had been part of training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and had briefly landed in Honolulu, where the photographer, Aeros808, had spotted them, a source said. The jets did not land in Guam, which had been done in 1996 when the US Air Force delivered F-16s to Taiwan, the source said, adding that the