TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A professor at a top Chinese military university has denied a report alleging he had confirmed that the Chinese military's large-scale landing exercise in the South China Sea later this month will specifically simulate an invasion of Taiwan’s Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands, 東沙群島), saying he was misquoted.
Kyodo News reported on Monday (August 3) that PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) had stated in pro-Beijing Bauhinia Magazine that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's large landing exercise in the South China Sea would be conducted with the hope of seizing the Dongsha Islands in the future.
However, Li refuted the story in an article published Monday night by state-run mouthpiece the Global Times, saying, "I did mention a PLA drill aimed at seizing the Dongsha Islands in August, but this was citing the report by Kyodo News in May. It's absolutely not a confirmation of their speculation."
Reports stated in May that the PLA was scheduled to conduct a military exercise in the South China Sea, speculating that it was meant to simulate the capture of the Taiwan-controlled Dongsha Islands. Many have pointed out that if China goes through with this drill, it will undoubtedly intensify the mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing in the region.
Meanwhile, Chief of Joint Operations Lin Wen-huang (林文皇) of the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense (MND) has emphasized that the military will continue to strengthen combat readiness and ensure proper preparations in place on Taiwan’s outlying islands, including the Dongsha Islands and Taiping Island.