China’s military said Monday it has carried out beach leading and assault drills in Fujian province, around 110 miles off the coast of Taiwan, as tensions between China and Taiwan have mounted in recent weeks.
In a post on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, an official People’s Liberation Army (PLA) account said the drills had been carried out “in recent days” in southern Fujian but did not specifically link the exercises to current tensions with Taiwan.
The drills involved “shock” troops and other combatants, the PLA account added. The soldiers were also “divided into multiple waves to grab the beach and perform combat tasks at different stages,” although the post did not specify what those combat tasks are.
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 11, 2021
But the account did share a video of soldiers in small transport boats storming a beach and later throwing smoke grenades, breaking through barbed wire fences and digging trenches in the sand. The video appeared to suggest that the number of soldiers who would participate in such operations is small.
Fujian would be a launching point for a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan due to its location, according to Reuters, which first reported the matter. The province was affected by a tropical storm over the weekend that started in the Philippines and passed through the Strait of Taiwan.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have grown in recent months due to larger and more frequent Chinese incursions into Taiwan’s air defense zone. China claims Taiwan as its territory and has defended its incursions into Taiwanese airspace as essential to protecting its own sovereignty. (RELATED: US Special Forces Secretly Deployed To Taiwan As Tensions Escalate With China)
President Joe Biden said he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the incursions in September, adding that both leaders resolved to abide by prior agreements with regards to Taiwan.
Xi said the “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan and mainland China “must be fulfilled” during a speech Saturday. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, on the other hand, has warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the island’s democracy falls to Beijing.