China's marine corps hold drills to 'win wars'
Beijing: The Chinese Marine Corps, whose numbers have swelled in recent years, are conducting comprehensive amphibious landing drills with the aim to gain experience in winning wars, besides safeguarding China's sovereignty over the South China Sea and Taiwan, official media reports said here on Monday.
Under the PLA Navy, the Marine Corps is a combined force responsible for amphibious combat, including special operations such as reconnaissance, landing and assault.
The exercises are taking place at an undisclosed location and the drills include the boarding of amphibious armoured vehicles onto landing ships and land assaults, state-run Global Times quoted an report by the China Central Television (CCTV).
China, in the last two years, has significantly increased the strength of its Naval Marine Corps. While the Navy has expanded manifold in line with the country's global outreach plan, the Army soldiers have been reduced by about 3 lakh.
In 2017, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that China planned to increase the size of its Marine Corps from 20,000 to 1 lakh personnel for overseas deployment, including the Gwadar Port in Pakistan and military logistics base in Djibouti in the Indian Ocean. The latest exercises, the Global Times reported, were aimed at protecting China's sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan. Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have contested claims over the South China Sea while Beijing claims Taiwan as its part.
"Problems will occur during these drills, and the troops will solve them and overcome difficulties, gaining more experience for future combat, as the drills are based on winning wars," Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the daily. Especially capable in amphibious combat, the Marine Corps should be considered a vanguard in safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the South China Sea and the island of Taiwan, Song said. Agencies