China includes English-speaking 'third force' in PLA drills



Beijing: Bracing for a possible future showdown with US forces in Asia, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has introduced English commands in military drills to get its troops acquainted with commands of the "rival third party forces".

Pilots of the PLA Air Force on a routine training recently were caught off guard by chatter in English over their radio, the Chinese-military-run PLA Daily said in a report.

By the time they had figured out that they had to confront a third party, their field command - an early-warning plane - had already been shot down, the Daily reported.

The "third party" was a surprise scenario added to the drill to strengthen the air force's real combat response capability, the Chinese army newspaper said.

Analysts said the inclusion of an English-speaking third party in PLA drills was aimed at sending a message that the Chinese military is preparing for possible intervention by the United States if China clashes militarily with neighbouring countries over territorial disputes, the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post said in a report.

English chatter figured in the drill took place early last month.

As a battle between the PLA air force and its pseudo opponent, the "blue army", reached its climax, the PLA pilots suddenly heard in English over the radio: "Target on a radial 180.60." Followed by "Roger," the PLA Daily report said.

"Who is that? Why is there a foreign language?" some PLA pilots asked, according to the newspaper.

The shooting down of the "red army" airborne command centre in the military drill forced its air force land commander to withdraw all fighter jets and change strategy to deal with the crisis, it reported.

"The 'third party force' was another surprise scenario we provisionally added to the drill with the aim of making our training more like real combat," the daily quoted drill director Jing Jianfeng as saying.

Ni Lexiong, the director of the sea power and defence policy research institute at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said: "The 'third party' scenario simulated how the PLA would have to react if it was attacked by both the Japanese army and the US air force.

"The PLA report was also aimed at letting Japan and other Asian countries know that the PLA is prepared for all possible military clashes over territory in the East and South China Sea," he said. Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the appearance of a "third party force" would become common in PLA training.= The drill was a good example of the PLA's ability to meet the goal of "being prepared for real combat and for victory" which the Communist Party chief Xi Jinping had demanded," Li said.

Xi, who took over as the Chief of PLA after getting elected as the new leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, (CPC) three months ago reiterated his call for the army to enhance its fighting capabilities through real combat training.

The news of English command familiarisation training came as China and Japan aggressively asserted their control over the disputed islands in the East China Sea and US announcement to shift majority of its military assets to Asia Pacific.

English familiarisation helps if US, an ally of Japan intervenes in any military conflict.

PLA Daily also reported Xi in his visit to the military base had stressed that he 'is always caring about' the soldiers and officers including pilots, scientists and engineers at the base.

He suggested that servicemen should grab the current strategic opportunity under the Communist Party's rule to make a contribution to the modernisation of China's defences.

Reports from Japan said Japanese Prime Minister, Sinzho Abe also visited a military base in Okinawa and urged troops to protect Japan against 'provocations'.

Ni Lexiong, the director of the sea power and defence policy research institute at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said: "The 'third party' scenario simulated how the PLA would have to react if it was attacked by both the Japanese army and the US air force.

"The PLA report was also aimed at letting Japan and other Asian countries know that the PLA is prepared for all possible military clashes over territory in the East and South China Sea," he said.

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the appearance of a "third party force" would become common in PLA training.

The drill was a good example of the PLA's ability to meet the goal of "being prepared for real combat and for victory" which the Communist Party chief Xi Jinping had demanded," Li said.

Xi, who took over as the Chief of PLA after getting elected as the new leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, (CPC) three months ago reiterated his call for the army to enhance its fighting capabilities through real combat training.

The news of English command familiarisation training came as China and Japan aggressively asserted their control over the disputed islands in the East China Sea and US announcement to shift majority of its military assets to Asia Pacific.

English familiarisation helps if US, an ally of Japan intervenes in any military conflict.

PLA Daily also reported Xi in his visit to the military base had stressed that he 'is always caring about' the soldiers and officers ? including pilots, scientists and engineers ? at the base.

He suggested that servicemen should grab the current strategic opportunity under the Communist Party's rule to make a contribution to the modernisation of China's defences.

Reports from Japan said Japanese Prime Minister, Sinzho Abe also visited a military base in Okinawa and urged troops to protect Japan against 'provocations'.

PTI