A J-11 fighter jet attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Eastern Theater Command takes off from a military airfield during the round-the-clock flight training on January 6, 2020. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Fu Gan)
Warplanes of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly conducted rare nighttime exercises near the island of Taiwan on Monday, and mainland analysts on Tuesday predicted that similar drills will become more frequent if Taiwan secessionist forces remain stubborn and continue their secessionist activities.
Multiple PLA warplanes including the KJ-500 early warning aircraft and J-11 fighter jets conducted nighttime flight exercises at around 7:00 pm on Monday above the waters southwest of the island of Taiwan, Taiwan media reported on Monday, citing Taiwan’s defense authority.
This is the first time the PLA has conducted this kind of exercise at night, said Taiwan’s defense authority, according to the report.
The PLA nighttime drills showed that it is fully capable of launching military operations on the island at any time of a day, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Similar drills are expected to become more frequent in order to let Taiwan secessionists get a clear idea of the power gap between the mainland and the island, the expert said.
The latest exercises near Taiwan came after concentrated PLA exercises in February. On February 9 and 10, the PLA conducted two consecutive drills featuring naval and air forces near the island and crossed the “middle line” of the Taiwan Straits, in a warning to Taiwan secessionists.
Island encirclement patrols used to be rare, crossing the “middle line” used to be rare and consecutive drills used to be rare, but they are not rare any more, and the same could apply for the nighttime drills, the expert said.
Taiwan secessionist forces are disregarding the greater national interests, intensifying their scheme of pursuing “independence,” going against the trend and the will of the people, said Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, a PLA Eastern Theater Command spokesperson, on February 10.
The PLA Eastern Theater Command troops are always on high alert, closely following the situation and are ready to resolutely fulfill their missions, Zhang said.
The troops are determined and capable of crushing any “Taiwan secessionist” activities, resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity and peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, Zhang said previously.