China’s military has released an action film-style video of its soldiers in beach landing and assault drills directly across the sea from Taiwan.
ensions between Beijing and Taipei have risen in recent weeks, as concerns grow that China is preparing to mount a full-scale invasion.
The Chinese military did not explicitly link the drills to those tensions, but the official People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper said the exercise had involved “shock” troops, sappers and boat specialists.
A clip released via the Weibo microblogging website showed soldiers in small boats storming a beach, throwing smoke grenades, breaking through barbed wire defences and digging trenches in the sand – all to a fast-paced, dramatic soundtrack.
The troops were “divided into multiple waves to grab the beach and perform combat tasks”, according to a short post by the military. Fujian province, where the drills took place, would be a key launching site for any Chinese invasion of Taiwan due to its geographical proximity.
The exact timing of the drill has not been revealed, but the announcement comes on the back of a record-breaking upsurge in Chinese military aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets, flying into Taiwan’s air defence zone – the buffer area close to its sovereign airspace.
The Chinese Communist Party claims the island democracy of 23.5 million as its own territory, even though it has never ruled there and Taiwan operates as an independent country.
Over the weekend, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, and Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s leader, went head-to-head in speeches outlining their opposing views on bilateral relations.