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PLA exercise a form of psychological warfare: security expert

2018/04/16 18:32:05

CNA file photo

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) The live-fire military exercise to be held by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday is just a form of psychological warfare employed by China to put pressure on Taiwan, an expert said Monday.

"It's a far cry from the 1996 missile crisis triggered by a joint military exercise across the Taiwan Strait. This one is much smaller and will only last a day," Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐), a former deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council, said in a radio interview.

Asked if the two military exercises held 22 years apart have some similarities, Chang said the differences were more noticeable.

"The area where Chinese troops held military exercises in 1996 simulating joint attacks on Taiwan actually crossed over the median line of the Taiwan Strait," he said.

The 1996 exercises were far more ambitious, according to Chang, simulating missile attacks to destroy Taiwan's airports, operations to grab supremacy in waters and airspace near Taiwan, and marine corps landings in coastal areas in western and eastern Taiwan.

"This time, China's official media have deliberately played up (the upcoming military drill)," he said, saying the Global Times in particular was using the internet to engage in psychological warfare.

"We can't deny the fact that the PLA has made progress compared with 20 years ago, but sometimes they go too far and are not humble enough," he said.

Taiwan's defense and security officials also downplayed China's military exercise.

On Monday morning, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense called the PLA's April 18 military exercise in waters off Quanzhou, Fujian province as a routine exercise of little impact and said the military has not upgraded its combat readiness.

Peng Sheng-chu (彭勝竹), director-general of the National Security Bureau, said the scale of China's military exercise will be roughly the level involving a battalion and was not aimed at a specific party.

Similar to China's past military exercises in the region, Wednesday's drill will not be large scale, and will be confined to only a small area, Peng said.

(By Flor Wang and Lu Hsin-hui)
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