PLA wants dominance in Western Pacific: US experts

China is increasing the frequency of its naval exercises with the aim of contesting the Second Island Chain in the Pacific — a series of island groups that runs north to south from the Japanese archipelago to the Bonin and Marshall islands — and taking control of the Taiwan Strait, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

Just two months after the largest naval exercise in the country’s history, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has again deployed vessels to the West Pacific for more sea drills.

According to Japanese authorities on Feb. 13, a P-C3 surveillance aircraft spotted two Chinese vessels on a southeasterly course — the Taizhou DDG-138 destroyer and the Xuzhou Type 054A frigate — about 110 kilometers northeast of Miyako island in southern Japan’s Okinawa prefecture.

Though China’s defense ministry said on Feb. 12 that the deployment is a routine arrangement that forms part of the PLA Navy’s annual training regime, US experts believe the increased naval activity suggests that Beijing may have long-term ambitions to expand its range of control.

Full article: PLA wants dominance in Western Pacific: US experts (Want China Times)

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