More Fujian drills for action-ready navy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 July, 1999, 12:00am

The PLA is to conduct its second military exercise in the Taiwan Strait in two weeks, with top generals reiterating its readiness for action.

The exercise, due to start this morning in Xiamen, Fujian province, would put naval reserves through a rapid mobilisation drill, the Beijing-affiliated Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po reported.

The PLA's most modern naval training ship, Shichang, arrived in Xiamen on Monday from its headquarters in Dalian, Liaoning province, to take part in the exercise, the paper said.

Xiamen-based naval reservists boarded the ship yesterday and prepared for the manoeuvres along the Fujian coast.

Rear-Admiral Zhou Hanrong, vice-commander of Fujian Naval Base who is likely to be in charge of the exercise, was quoted as saying the navy would 'make sacrifices to maintain the unity of the country, to defend territorial integrity and safeguard maritime rights'.

The exercise would have 'major significance in implementing the military strategy in the new period to win a regional naval battle under hi-tech conditions', the admiral said.

The manoeuvres come in the wake of Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui's remarks made on July 9 that relations between the island and Beijing were on a 'state-to-state' basis.

Participating reservists pledged their readiness for combat, the paper said.

The exercise is being jointly organised by the PLA navy and the mobilisation department of the General Staff Department. On July 15, more than 100 civilian vessels were involved in formation exercises off the Fujian city of Quanzhou.

Meanwhile, top mainland generals repeated their confidence in the PLA's readiness and capability for any military operations against Taiwan.

General Chi Haotian, Defence Minister and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, said: 'Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The PLA is ready at any moment to crush any attempts to separate Taiwan from China.' Xinhua also quoted General Fu Quanyou, Chief of the General Staff, as saying: 'The PLA has the ability, strength and determination to defend China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.'