A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy flotilla including the aircraft carrier Liaoning conducted confrontation exercises on Friday in the sea east of the Bashi Strait in the west Pacific, with a military expert saying that the exercises sent a tough message to "Taiwan independence forces."
Footage recently broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) showed that the exercises by the PLA Navy formation featured aircraft carrier Liaoning, ship-borne J-15 fighter jets, shipboard helicopters and missile destroyers.
The drill aimed to test the formation's operational capability in high seas, Gao Zhaorui, chief of staff of the formation, told CCTV.
The Chinese mainland's military drills not only tested and showed the PLA's strength, but also sent a warning to "Taiwan independence groups," Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"An aircraft carrier formation will play an important role in hypothetical future military operations against Taiwan," Song said, noting that the formation could form a blockade and conduct military strikes against the island.
The location, which was close to the east side of Taiwan, showed that the drills simulated a hypothetical situation in which the Taiwan army retreats to the east of the island. "The east side of the island, where the Taiwan army elaborately deploys its forces, will not be safe when confronted with the formation of aircraft carriers of the mainland," Song said.
Real combat exercises in high seas will play a positive role in maintaining regional peace and stability, said Zhu Weiguo, deputy head of the training bureau of the staff of the Chinese navy.