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Indo-Pacific, PLA's "three-in-one" military strategy unveiled: "attacking, trapping Taiwan, and blocking the enemy"

The exercise conducted by the People's Liberation Army on May 23 around Taiwan not only demonstrated the high combat readiness of the Chinese Armed Forces, but also manifested the determination of the frontline commanders and fighters to win an eventual war against Taiwan and the U.S. to occupy the island, said Wang Shichun, military commentator for Observer Network. This training operation also saw PLA and maritime police ships enter the waters around Uchuyu and Dongyin islands for the first time.

The PLA's Eastern Theater announced a day of joint exercises in the Taiwan Strait, north, south and east of the Island and around Kinmen Island, Matsu Island, Uchuyu Island and Dongyin Island.

The exercise began at 7:45 a.m. local time on May 23.

Naval Colonel Li Xi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command, said that from May 23 to 24, the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army would activate the army, navy, air force, missile force and other theater forces to conduct the “joint operation “Exercise Sword-2024A” around the island of Taiwan.

The exercise would focus on topics such as joint air and sea combat readiness patrols, joint seizure of complete control of the battlefield and joint precision strike on key targets.

After the theater joint operations command center issued the action order, several formations of destroyers and frigates of the Eastern Theater Navy maneuvered at high speed in multiple directions in the waters surrounding the island of Taiwan, creating an approach omnidirectional to the island.

After arriving in the maritime area of the target according to plan, the ships quickly started combat deployment, with main and secondary guns, missiles and other weapons systems ready to strike at any time.

The fleet fused diversified intelligence information and the maritime and air situation, quickly captured and pinned down the target, carrying out saturation simulation attacks with multi-type and multi-dimensional weapons.

The Eastern Theater Air Force deployed dozens of combat aircraft to carry out systematic war patrol around Taiwan Island and cruise around the outer islands.

After reaching the mission airspace, all types of warplanes, relying on joint intelligence support, flexibly undertook all kinds of tactical maneuvers and approached the outskirts of Taiwan Island for war patrol.

Under the support and cover of the Army and the Missile Force, the multi-aircraft formations, fully loaded with live ammunition, flew to the predetermined airspace to establish multiple attack positions and worked with frigates and missile ships to simulate attacks against high-value military targets and ships and aircraft on reconnaissance and patrol.

Wang Shichun, military commentator for Observer Network, believes there are two points of interest in this exercise. The first is the "cold start" of the exercise.

During this exercise, the Taiwanese military did not respond early. As recently as May 21, Gu Lixiong, the new head of Taiwan's defense department, was still dealing with "trivial" matters such as "directly proceeding with the recruitment of new soldiers."

The US Navy and Air Force stationed in the Indo-Pacific region also took no early warning actions for this exercise. Until May 22, the "Reagan" was still conducting carrier aircraft training in the waters near the Izu Islands in Japan, and the aircraft carrier "Roosevelt" was visiting the Singapore area.

It can be said that, with almost no warning and preparation from the Taiwanese and US militaries, the Chinese military moved directly to the scene in the transition "from peacetime to wartime in this exercise," said Wang Shichun.

"This exercise not only demonstrated the high combat readiness of the People's Liberation Army, but also demonstrated the determination of the commanders and frontline fighters to win. Such a “cold start” capability is enough to shock and worry 'Taiwan independence' elements seeking to 'reject reunification by force' and 'powerful foreign enemies' seeking to intervene in the Taiwan Strait," added the military expert.

In addition to the "cold start," the Eastern Theater of Operations has released a schematic of the "Joint Sword-2024A" exercise area. As can be seen from the schematic, the exercise is designed to be conducted east of the island and west of the island.

In addition to the eastern theater of operations, this training operation saw PLA and maritime police ships enter the waters around Uchuyu and Dongyin islands for the first time.

The second point of interest of this exercise is that the action to the east and west of Taiwan Island was designed as a whole, indicating that the PLA is clearer on the coercive posture, adopting a trinitarian strategy of "fight Taiwan, trap Taiwan, block the enemy," clarified Wang Shichun.

"'Invading Taiwan' means that we, in accordance with the requirements of actual combat conditions, conduct joint naval and air combat readiness patrols, jointly take complete control of the battlefield, and jointly attack key targets in the direction of key defenses of the Taiwan Army. A “simulated test” was conducted on the skill,” he said.

"'Trapping Taiwan' is to simulate the control of the sea and airspace outside the port of Kaohsiung, the largest port in the southern part of Taiwan Island, and to strike the stronghold of 'Taiwan independence' both politically and economically, so as to break the illusion of a 'quick battle' with our troops in the 'Gu'an operation plan'. The 'Gu'an battle plan' is to break the illusion of a 'quick battle and quick decision' with our troops." the Chinese expert added.

"The 'stopping of the enemy' consists of carrying out simulated attacks on the ocean surface east of Taiwan, proving the seizure of control of the sea and air, demonstrating that our army is not only preparing for the intervention of extraterritorial enemies, but also has the confidence to repel the extraterritorial enemies' attempts to intervene in the sea and air, and to ensure freedom of air, sea and land movement on and around Taiwan Island, so as to force the 'Taiwan independence' elements to give up the 'Taiwan independence' plan. The 'Taiwan independence' elements will be forced to give up the illusion of 'holding the ocean hostage'."

On the afternoon of May 23, during the regular Foreign Ministry press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater of Operations has been conducting joint exercises and trainings around Taiwan Island to safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity from "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and to demonstrate possible strong punishment.

"We will take strong disciplinary action against separatist forces seeking 'Taiwan independence.' This is a serious warning against interference and provocation by outside forces, and is fully in line with international law and practice, and is fully justified and necessary," Foreign Ministry spokesman added.

Wang Wenbin stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, that it is both a historical fact and the true status quo that will never change in the future, and that "Taiwan independence" is a dead end.

"The determination of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering. All secessionist acts of 'Taiwan independence' will be met with a frontal attack by the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and all secessionist forces of 'Taiwan independence' will have their heads chopped off in the face of the historic momentum of China's complete reunification. We urge the United States to stop condoning and supporting the 'Taiwan independence' forces and stop interfering in China's internal affairs. Any act that undermines China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity will be met with a firm and strong response from the Chinese side," said the Chinese minister's spokesman.

China Coast Guard conducts drills in Taiwan Strait

On Thursday, the coast guard in East China's Fujian province organized a vessel fleet to conduct comprehensive law enforcement drills in the Taiwan Strait, a spokesperson announced.

In a statement, Gan Yu, spokesperson for the China Coast Guard, said that the law enforcement drills took place near the islands of Wuqiu and Dongyin.

Both islands are located within the Taiwan Strait.

The law enforcement exercise is looking to test the capabilities of joint patrols, rapid response and emergency handling, he said.

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