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Defense/Military

China Conducts Military Exercise and Relocates Military Supplies to Tibet to Display Military Muscle against India

Several media reported that the PLA’s recent military exercises in the northwestern region and the movement of tens of thousands of tons of military weapons and supplies to northwest China was meant to display its military muscle in front of India. An article that Huanqiu published stated that the PLA conducted another military exercise in the Xi Ning region following the military exercise in Tibet. Hongkong’s South China Morning Post, CCTV, and Eastday.com carried articles with photos showing that the PLA transported tens of thousands of tons of military vehicles and equipment to Tibet. The media from India pointed out that even though the military exercises took place in the northern part of Tibet, it would be very easy for Beijing to move the military supplies quickly to the Indian border through the railway and infrastructure system in Tibet. One military expert who chose to remain anonymous told Huanqiu that the standoff between India and China has been going on for over one month now and China must be prepared.

Sources:
1. CCTV, July 16, 2017
http://tv.cctv.com/2017/07/16/ARTIcrd9ATXhh0dLPhkWYmBD170716.shtml
2. Huanqiu, July 20, 2017
http://mil.huanqiu.com/china/2017-07/11006536.html
3. Eastday, July 19, 2017
http://news.eastday.com/c/20170719/u1a13132011.html

PLA Daily: Army’s Active Duty Member Count Was Reduced to 50 Percent in Military Reform

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily published an article on WeChat (a popular Chinese social media) under its WeChat account Jun Zhen Ping Studio, regarding the on-going military reform.

The article stated that, “After this reform, for the first time, the Army’s active duty member count dropped below one million. The Navy, Rocket Army, and Strategic Support Force all had increases while the Air Force stayed at the same level. The Army numbers about 50 percent of the overall military forces.”

Source: Chuansong.net, July 11, 2017
http://chuansong.me/n/1968026052724

People’s Daily: “The Borderline Is the Bottom Line!”

For the past few weeks, China and India have had a standoff in a disputed area between China and Bhutan.

The Chinese call the disputed highland region “Donglang” and the Indians call it “Doklam.” It is on the border between China and Bhutan. Bhutan is China’s only neighboring country that has not established a formal diplomatic relationship with China, mainly due to the border dispute.

Recently, China started building a road in the disputed area. India then sent its soldiers to block China from building the road.

An Indian brigadier-general said, “We didn’t fire. We only formed a human body wall to prevent Chinese from continuing its invasion.”

China’s Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said during an interview, “This is the first time that the Indian military crossed the predefined borderline to invade China’s territory, causing the military standoff.” “There is no disagreement between China and Bhutan that Donglang belongs to China. India has no right to intervene in Sino-Bhutan negotiations, nor does it have the right to advocate for territory for Bhutan.”

On July 7, People’s Daily’s official weibo account published a picture with the title, “The Borderline Is the Bottom Line.” The picture is the border map showing the area of China, India, and Bhutan. It shows Donglang is in China. It also shows an arrow pointing from India to China. The note read, “The Indian military illegally crossed the border to enter China’s side.”

{Editor’s note: According to an article published in War on the Rocks on July 13, 2017, when China initiated its road building, “(India) in ‘close coordination’ with a Royal Bhutan Army patrol approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist… (This) appears to be an attempt to wean Bhutan away from India.”}

Sources:
1. Weibo
http://weibo.com/p/100808b2f565c3e128dcf37ac2e69d40235183?k=界线即是底线&from=526&_from_=huati_topic
2. BBC, July 5, 2017
http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/world-40503298

China’s First Overseas Military Base Caused U.S. Worries

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China’s first military base outside China was officially established on July 11. The Chinese Naval Base at Djibouti is currently serving as a logistics supply provider for the Chinese Navy. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the Djibouti Base is only a small scale logistics base for peace-keeping missions. It cannot be compared with full-blown military bases that the U.S., France, and Japan have nearby. However, some Chinese analysts have been reading the language between the lines in the U.S. media such as the New York Times for concerns. The analysts expressed their belief that the U.S. was worried about the short distance to the nearby U.S. Camp Lemonnier, which is one of the largest U.S. permanent overseas military bases. Secondly, the U.S. may be worried about its dominant status in the region.

Source: Sina, July 12, 2017
http://dailynews.sina.com/bg/chn/chnpolitics/chinapress/20170712/08197951823.html

Duowei: Vice Chairman of CMC Cut Short His Visit to Vietnam

Duowei reported that it was not with a purpose that Fan Changlong, the First Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), cut short his visit to Vietnam in June.

Fan left Beijing on June 12 to visit Spain, the Netherlands, and Vietnam. China’s Ministry of Defense reported that Fan would attend the Forth Summit of the Sino-Vietnam Militaries. However, the Ministry of Defense later reported that “due to a work arrangement, China cancelled the Forth Summit of the Sino-Vietnam Militaries.”

Analysts think this is related to the sovereignty debate between China and Vietnam, related to the South China Sea, where both sides claim ownership. One version of the story was that Vietnam started exploration work on a gas field in the South China Sea during Fan’s visit. China was so irritated that it sent over forty military ships and sea patrol ships and several military transport aircraft, to stop Vietnam’s drilling operation.

Source: Duowei, June 28, 2017
http://china.dwnews.com/news/2017-06-28/59822486.html

Hong Kong Military Parade Soldiers Responded “Greetings, Chairman”

There was a change at the military parade in Hong Kong. When Xi Jinping greeted the parade block as “Greetings, Comrade,” the soldiers responded “Greetings, Chairman.” In the past, the Communist regime has always used the response of “Greetings, Leading Cadre.”

The soldiers’ new greeting to Xi in Chinese is “主席好.” “主席” can refer either to the title of Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman or the title of President of China. Xi holds both titles.

Lianhe Zaobao gave two interpretations: One was that it showed that Xi had obtained absolute power over the military, so he preferred to be called by his title “Chairman” (of the CMC).

Another interpretation was that “Chairman” is much easier for Hong Kong people to accept than the term “Leading Cadre.” “Leading Cadre” is a word used in Party culture.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, June 30, 2017
http://www.zaobao.com.sg/realtime/china/story20170630-775429

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