PLA Holds Military Drills to Scare Pelosi, Thwart Xi’s Detractors ahead of Party Congress


The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its commander-in-chief Chinese president Xi Jinping threw everything but the kitchen sink as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began her trip to Asia with a probability that she might land in Taiwan, sparking fears of a new war in Asia.

Nancy Pelosi’s Asia trip, with speculations that she might land in Taipei, have added extra fervour in Beijing’s 95th Army Day celebrations. As Pelosi began her visit to Asia, Beijing began celebrations starting Sunday by displaying weaponry and equipment development achievements of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

According to a report by Chinese state-run media Global Times, the Chinese army showcased the advancements it made in developing advanced weapons through their DF-17 hypersonic missile, an amphibious assault ship, an aerial tanker and large destroyers.

The Chinese government mouthpiece said that these weapons will have an important role to play if a conflict breaks out in Taiwan Straits.

One of the editor’s of the mouthpiece raised fears of a war breaking out last week when he tweeted that if required Chinese warplanes will shoot down Nancy Pelosi’s aircraft if it enters Taiwanese airspace.

The tweet was removed later, after Twitter said it violated regulations but the recent exercises sends a message that China may take concrete steps to deter US from engaging with Taiwan.

The PLA indirectly issued a threat to the US by saying that despite the presence of US aircraft carriers, it will use its aircraft carrier killer missiles, if provoked or if Pelosi stops in Taipei.

Xi lauded the Chinese military for its rapid militarization but expressed concern that China is facing ‘mounting instability and uncertainty in the national security situation’.

While the show of weapons and missiles are intended to ward off the United States, it also comes months before the Communist Party of China convenes for its twice-a-decade congress where Xi is expected to announce the beginning of his third term.

The show is intended to impress party elders and show dissidents that much has been achieved during Xi’s presidency. Xi said that competent and talented personnel should be trained well to strengthen the armed forces. He also said that talent should remain as the main criteria for building a strong military.

“(The PLA) armed forces must always be led by reliable people who are loyal to the Party. The starting point and ultimate goal of personnel work is to build armed forces that are able to fight and win,” Xi said, according to a statement.

However, the PLA went overboard with displays of so-called military superiority. Throughout Sunday it displayed the operational capabilities of Type 055 large destroyer Yan’an, the YU-20 aerial tanker, Type 075 amphibious assault ship and Z-20 utility helicopter. But the launch of what was claimed to be the DF-17 hypersonic missile is a reason for concern.

The PLA claims that the DF-17 can hit targets in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits and Northeast Asia but it has never been used in active war.

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