The area-denial capabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) against the US would improve with the delivery of a Type 003 aircraft carrier in 2025, according to the Ministry of National Defense’s 2021 People’s Liberation Army Capability Report.
This year’s report has more assessments of the PLA’s ability to conduct landing operations on Taiwan, its area-denial capabilities and the efficacy of its gray-zone tactics.
While last year’s report said that the PLA’s lack of equipment and logistical support would prevent China from conducting large-scale landing operations, the new report said that China had improved its air and sea transport capabilities, although it still lacks equipment and logistics.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
Beijing no longer considers the sea its only way to put boots on the ground, but has expanded its options to include air-dropping troops in, the report said.
The PLA’s carrier fleet allows it to project naval and aerial force beyond the first and second island chains, and it appears to regularly conduct distant-sea exercises, the report said.
The delivery of a Type 003 aircraft carrier in 2025 would further solidify the PLA’s area-denial capabilities, it said.
Gray-zone tactics include such tactics as the illegal operation of Chinese sand dredgers in Taiwanese waters, the report said.
The ability of China to blackout and cut communications has extended west of Taiwan and the first island chain, the report said, amplifying the assessment of previous reports, which said that China possessed the ability to paralyze Taiwan’s anti-air and anti-surface systems, and to effectively shut down its ability to launch countermeasures via cyberattacks.
The first island chain comprises Taiwan, the Kuril Islands, the Japanese archipelago, the Ryukyu Islands, the northern Philippines and Borneo, while the second island chain comprises the Bonins, the Marianas, Guam and the Palau archipelago.
In other news, All-out Defense Mobilization Office Director Major General Han Gan-ming (韓岡明) yesterday said that the Wanan air defense exercise would take place nationwide on Sept. 15, but civilians would not need to take shelter.
The drill this year aims to raise awareness of emergency warnings, especially for air raids, to reduce possible damage and casualties in the case of such attacks, Han said.
Air raid sirens would signal the start of the 30-minute drill at 1:30pm on Sept. 15 and some people would receive a text message, but they could carry on with their day’s activities, he said.
Due to the Central Epidemic Command Center’s restrictions on large gatherings amid a level 2 COVID-19 alert, the defense ministry canceled the suspension of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, Han added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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