China ‘puts wartime command system to test’ in South China Sea drills


China has conducted a month of drills in the South China Sea and the western and central Pacific involving its navy, air force and missile unit.

Military observers said the exercises indicated the People’s Liberation Army wanted to put its wartime command system to the test and also strengthen its missile defences in the South China Sea.

The waterway is one of the world’s busiest and is subject to overlapping territorial disputes involving China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Several of China’s newest warships took part in the exercises, according to a statement from the navy’s South Sea Fleet. They included guided missile destroyer the Hefei, guided missile frigate the Yuncheng, amphibious landing dock Changbaishan and the replenishment oiler Honghu.
To simulate a real wartime situation, the exercise had no pre-planned scenario and no advance notice was given, with all command instructions and procedures following an actual combat situation, the statement said.

“This training enabled us to deepen our knowledge of a systematic combat situation at sea and improve our capabilities,” it said.