South China Sea: Military exercises ‘must continue’ says expert
Back-and-forth threats between China, its neighbours and the USA has seen the strengthening of military presences in the hotly disputed region. The latest picture, released on Twitter by open source intelligence analyst @detresfa, shows the development of hangars at an airbase at Sanya, on the south coast of Hainan.
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It also shows the development of a dry dock large enough for aircraft carriers – and the location of a pier in use as a stop for vessels, such as the formidable Type 075.
The Type 075 is Chinese navy’s next generation of dock and is able to launch various types of helicopters to target enemy vessels, ground forces or submarines.
Naval News notes that the dock, where construction began in 2016, will be large enough for China’s new enormous Type-003 super aircraft carrier.
Submarines, including nuclear, and a large surface fleet are already based in Hainan where the renovation work indicates a desire to shore up defences in the region.
Harbin Z-9 helicopters deployed from the base fired anti-ship missiles at simulated targets in a training exercise on Friday.
Taiwan, the smaller neighbour China claims sovereignty over, has unveiled a new warship which has been dubbed the “aircraft carrier killer”.
The Ta Chiang, which is said to become active in July, is armed with subsonic and supersonic guided missiles making it capable of targeting Chinese vessels.
It was reported to have been unveiled at Lungteh Shipyard in Yilan County on Wednesday under the watchful eye of the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
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The Tuo Chiang-class vessel is a corvette, the smallest class of warship.
It features anti-aircraft missiles, a Phalanx close-in weapons system, two machine guns, and two torpedo tubes, according to Taiwan News.
But Chinese state media, Global Times, claims it does not have the muscle to trouble its military might.
Referencing experts, the publication claimed the warship “carries too many weapons”.
Taiwan has also started building eight new combat submarines, due to enter service in late-2024.
To further assist the development of Taiwan’s military, largely to suppress the looming threat of China, the Trump administration has supplied 11 arms packages to the island nation, amounting to $5billion dollars in 2020 alone.
This has prompted repeated threats of retaliation from China.
Last week, China’s military urged the US “to immediately cancel the projects of selling weapons to Taiwan” as the superpowers traded warning blows.
Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), responded to the latest US defence sale to Taiwan, which cost $280billion.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said they had supplied Taiwan with a Field Information Communications System (FICS) to help “modernize its military communication’s capability”.
Ren said the latest sale undermines “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
The remarks by Ren coincided with US navy ships entering the waters followed by “unscripted” live-fire combat training by the Chinese navy.
Ren said on Tuesday: “Any attempt of using Taiwan to contain China by the US is doomed to failure.
“China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan and urges the US to immediately cancel the projects of selling weapons to Taiwan.”
In October, the US approved a $1.8bn (£1.3bn) weapons sale to Taiwan, including rocket launchers, sensors and artillery.
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