Singaporean troops join in PLA training exercise in China

Singaporean troops join in PLA training exercise in China

TAIPEI - The military has a full grasp of the situation regarding Singaporean troops' recent joint training project in mainland China, according to the Ministry of National Defence (MND).

The military, however, would not provide any additional comments on the training.

The MND's comments came as a response to a People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily report earlier this week that made public the rare joint training programme between PLA and Singaporean forces.

According to the report, a joint training session between the two forces was held at a training ground in Anhui province this Sunday.

This marks the third time the two countries' armies conducted similar joint training programs and the first time the PLA's Nanjing Military Region has held such a project with a foreign force, the PLA Daily said.

A total of 70 Singaporean military personnel joined the programme, which is scheduled to last eight days, the PLA Daily said.

The Nanjing Military Region is one of seven military command regions for the Chinese PLA. Its jurisdiction covers all military and armed police located in Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian and Shanghai, as well as Taiwan.

Commenting on the report, a military source told Taiwan's Chinese-language Liberty Times yesterday that the rare joint programme is seen as a warning sign to Taiwan not only because the Nanjing Military Region covers Taiwan but also because Singapore troops have regularly joined training programs in Taiwan for decades.

The source told the newspaper that latest move by the Chinese military is a "provocation" toward Taiwan.

Despite the lack of official ties, Taiwan and the Singapore have enjoyed close military exchanges for decades.

Since 1975, Singapore, which lacks the space for large-scale military maneuvers, has annually sent troops to Taiwan for training under the codename Operation Starlight, the source said.

The source, however, denied that military exchanges between the two sides could end when asked to comment if Singaporean troops' ongoing training in China could mean the country is considering ending military exchanges with Taiwan in favour of China.

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