China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy fleets attached to three of the military's theatre commands have staged separate live-fire drills in recent days to counter US military challenges.
It is part of Beijing's efforts to create a combat-ready military force in the face of growing military pressure from the US over the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.Citing local media, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that PLA's Eastern, Northern and Southern Theatre Commands held military exercises as part of "a comprehensive test of the overall operational capability of a naval formation in the context of actual combat, with observers seeing them as part of efforts to counter US military challenges."
The PLA Navy started its annual training programme last month and since then it has held two live-fire drills by navy fleets. Guided-missile destroyers and corvettes among ships taking part in fire-strike training and anti-missile defence and maritime assault drills.
Song Zhongping, a military commentator based in Hong Kong, said that the coming together of three PLA fleets to conduct such fire-strike training will become more common as challenges from the US continue to grow.
"This is not only about the rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait but also Washington's hardening anti-China policy," he said.
Meanwhile, the US is rapidly advancing on a legislation to pool billions of dollars in technology funding for basic research as a measure to counter China amid strained ties and fierce competition between the two countries.
The Senate voted 84-11 to move ahead with the Endless Frontiers Act introduced by Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, which seeks up to USD 100 billion over five years for basic and advanced tech research and another USD 10 billion to create new technology hubs across the country, reported SCMP.The legislation would see billions of dollars poured into basic research - the advancement of scientific theories that underpin applied technologies - over five years, in areas that include artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology and advanced energy.
Under the former President Donald Trump's administration, ties between Washington and Beijing had deteriorated over issues such as human rights violations in Xinjiang, encroachment on the special status of Hong Kong, accusations of unfair trade practices by Beijing, lack of transparency concerning the pandemic and China's military aggression around the world.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months. Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific.