PLA Navy's Type 055 10,000 ton-class large destroyer leads intensive drills in South China Sea amid rising tensions
Published: May 24, 2023 09:56 PM
The guided-missile destroyer Dalian (Hull 105) attached to the PLA Southern Theater Command sails during a far-sea joint training drill in early April, 2023. Photo: eng.chinamil.com.cn
A flotilla of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy led by a Type 055 10,000 ton-class large destroyer has carried out a combat-oriented exercise in the South China Sea amid rising tensions in the region stirred up by the US.
Not targeted at a third party and aimed at safeguarding national security, the drills sent a signal that the US' provocative muscle-flexing against China will not work, experts said on Wednesday.
The Type 055 large destroyer Dalian
, Type 052D destroyer Changsha
, and Type 054A frigates Liuzhou
attached to the navy of the PLA Southern Theater Command formed a flotilla and conducted a coordinated exercise in the South China Sea for more than 80 hours extending across four days and three nights, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.
Live-fire anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine exercises were included in the drills, the CCTV report showed.
The drills honed the combat-oriented capabilities of individual ships and the flotilla as a whole, and laid a solid foundation for them to carry out flexible military struggles and enhance their capabilities to deal with emergency situations rapidly and properly, CCTV said.
The exercise was a routine one not targeted at any third party, but it was carried out against a complex geopolitical background in which the US recently rallied the Philippines and carried out the largest Balikatan joint exercise in the South China Sea targeting China, Chen Xiangmiao, director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
China's regular exercises could serve as a message that China will not compromise because of the US' provocative muscle-flexing and discord-sowing through military strength, and that countries should have dialogue and seek cooperation, Chen said.
The US is raising its military activities in the South China Sea from a tactical level, highlighted by frequent close-in reconnaissance operations, to a strategic level, like adding new bases in the Philippines and deploying advanced weapons like HIMARS rockets and Patriot missiles in joint drills, in an attempt to reinforce the first island chain and link such activities to the Taiwan question to deter China, observers said.
Unlike US moves that serve its hegemony and harm the regional situation, the PLA's routine drills are for the safeguarding of China's rightful interests, and they contribute to regional peace and stability, Chen said.
Earlier this month, the navy of the PLA Southern Theater Command announced that the Type 055 large destroyer Dalian
had completed a
stretching for more than 8,000 nautical miles (14,816 kilometers) in the South China Sea and the West Pacific.
The latest exercise in the South China Sea means that the Dalian
participated in consecutive, intensive drills, demonstrating its high combat readiness and reliability, analysts said.
It also showed that the PLA naval and aviation forces are fully capable of safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests in the South China Sea, observers said.