Chinese destroyer and frigates stage drills off Taiwan


The PLA confirmed the drills involved ships and troops near Taiwan, but it was not clear if the drills were finished or ongoing

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army destroyer and a frigate have been cruising waters close to Taiwan doing high-seas combat drills since last week in a move seen as stepped-up saber-rattling by Beijing.

Taiwan newspapers reported that a group of navy warships including Huanggang, a Type 054A multi-role frigate, and Jinan, a Type 052C destroyer, had sailed down the Taiwan Strait all the way to the Bashi Channel. The Huanggang can carry HQ-16 medium-range air defense missiles and various anti-submarine weapons, while the Jinan features sophisticated radar to guide its HHQ-9 long-range air defense missiles.

The PLA Daily also carried a short report on its website on Monday, saying the sight of a “Chinese Aegis” class destroyer appearing near Taiwan was a message to the island.

The drills tested the military, the abilities of the ships, aviation and coastal defense troops through combat training in multiple areas on the ocean and examined tactics and training procedures by teaming up with other navy ships, aviation forces and coastal defense forces, it said.

The fleet entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone and stayed for more than one week, the second island encirclement exercise within a month, Taiwan-based media United Daily News reported last week.

It was not clear if the drill had ended, but there were reports in Taiwan papers on Wednesday evening citing Taiwanese fishermen saying that some Chinese warships were still off the island’s northeastern coast and they showed “no sign of leaving.”