TAIPEI, Taiwan - China's armed forces earlier this month launched a large-scale military exercise, mobilizing over 20,000 troops in maneuvers believed to simulate preparation for an incursion into Taiwan, according to a US-based professor.
In a recent column published in the Washington Post, Maochun Yu (余茂春), a professor at the United States Naval Academy, stated that the recent military exercise, designated "Mission 2013B" (使命行動2013B), is the second large-scale operation of its kind to be launched this year by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Military divisions deployed in the operation included the elite 42nd Army in the Guangzhou Military Region as well as detachments of naval, amphibious, communication, and air units from the Guangzhou and Nanjing Military Regions.
China's armed forces are organised under seven major military-administrative regions, each responsible for operations in defined geographic areas.
In addition, Yu stated that one of the objectives of the exercise was to develop proficiency in utilizing civil infrastructure such as railroads, freeways, and airports to expand the PLA's logistical capabilities. According to Yu, the PLA is developing plans to perform rapid transport of troops, supplies, and key assets such as aircraft and armored vehicles to bases situated throughout China's coastal regions. The exercises are designed to flesh out issues relating to the complexity of joint inter-regional maneuvers and to test the limits of the PLA's operational cohesion.
A similar large-scale exercise staged last month saw the mobilization of more than 40,000 troops in what appeared to be an exercise designed to prepare for an amphibious assault on Taiwan's Eastern and Southern shores, said Yu.
Yu also stated that an upcoming military exercise will be led by the PLA air force.
According to Yu, it is likely that the Guanzhou and Nanjing military administrative regions will play a pivotal role in any possible incursion into Taiwan.
A high-ranking commander in the Guangzhou Military District stated that the recent exercises were conducted to simulate the complexities of realistic wartime conditions.