China’s People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) held a routine 50-ship live-fire combat exercise and should not be over-interpreted by external parties, a spokesperson told a regular press conference Thursday.
Taiwan's authority said the 50 warships passed through the Taiwan Strait. Local media said it was the first time for the Chinese mainland’s warships to pass through the Taiwan Strait from July 20-21. The Taiwan defense department concluded the move was to avoid typhoons, not "deliberate."
Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, told the media briefing that the PLA has organized drills in the area, and naval vessels are sailing through the Taiwan Strait. This is normal and the outside world should not make excessive interpretations.
Ren’s response also confirmed for the first time that the PLA held a live-fire exercise in the East China Sea.
There was no official detailed announcement on the exercise and the 50 warships went through the Taiwan Strait. A news analysis in the Global Times called it a high-level military exercise involving three fleets.