Amid the escalating war of words between Beijing and Taipei, the Chinese military posted a video of its troops practicing beach landings and building beachheads, in “recent” drills conducted right across the straits from Taiwan.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily posted a video on its Weibo account on Monday, showing soldiers “in multiple waves” practicing “capturing the beach.” The video shows soldiers storming the beach using small craft, breaking through barbed wire and other obstacles, digging trenches in the sandbar, and practicing fighting through a forest.
The drills were carried out “in recent days,” according to the PLA, at a range in Fujian province, the closest portion of the Chinese mainland to Taiwan. It was clear the video was not from Monday, as it shows clear skies and calm seas, while the area is currently affected by wind and rain from the tropical storm Kompasu, passing south of the island.
Fujian is just 180 kilometers across the sea from Taiwan, an island which China considers part of its sovereign territory, but which has been ruled by nationalists who retreated there after losing the civil war to the Communists in 1949.
On Sunday, Taiwan held a military parade in celebration of National Day, showing off armored vehicles, combat jets and missiles. President Tsai Ing-wen also gave a speech, declaring that “Nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us.”
“The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China,” Tsai said, adding that the island “will not act rashly,” but that “there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure.”
Her remarks came after Saturday’s speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who vowed that “the historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” Xi also called Taiwanese “separatism” the “biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation.”
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