China launched a series of military exercises, including live-fire training, in the East China Sea this week, just days after massive naval drills by a pair of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and three allies in the Philippine Sea.
Beijing marked off at least three areas along its eastern coast for training between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday and designated one area for “ship-borne weapons and light weapons shooting training,” according to navigational warnings issued by China’s Maritime Safety Administration.
The training areas were between 150 miles and 278 miles from Taiwan, in the same region where China carried out three days of drills in mid-April in response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California that month.
Tuesday’s live-fire training took place just 11 miles from the Dachen Islands, a chain that was administered by Taiwan until the First Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1955.
Additional exercises are scheduled to take place throughout the week in the South China Sea and East China Sea, according to the administration.
China considers democratic Taiwan a breakaway territory that must be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Three days before Beijing announced the drills, the U.S., Japanese, French and Canadian navies gathered for training several hundred miles to the east on Friday, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a Monday news release
Those drills included the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups — the first operation between the two since 2020 — the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s large-deck helicopter destroyer JS Izumo and two frigates from France and Canada.
The two carriers concluded the operation on Friday, though the Ronald Reagan continued to operate with allies in the region afterward, Carrier Strike Group 5 spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Joe Keiley told Stars and Stripes by phone Wednesday.
“The credibility of an integrated carrier strike force is the U.S. Navy’s greatest deterrent to those who threaten the international rules-based order,” Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, said in the INDOPACOM release.
The training — part of INDOPACOM’s Large Scale Global Exercise 23 — involved more than 12,000 sailors from the four countries and included anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine drills, according to the release.
Large Scale Global Exercise kicked off May 24 and is scheduled to run through Aug. 19. It incorporates units from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Space Force, along with “allies and partner nations across the Indo-Pacific,” INDOPACOM said in a May 25 release.
On June 3, the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon, the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal, the Japanese destroyer JS Shiranui and the Australian frigate HMAS Anzac kicked off Noble Wolf, another component of the large-scale exercise.
Earlier that day, the Chung-Hoon and Montreal carried out a freedom-of-navigation operation in the Taiwan Strait. During the ships’ transit, a Chinese guided-missile destroyer overtook the allied ships and cut across the Chung-Hoon’s path.
Source : stripes.com