Report puts spotlight on PLA units deployed in South China Sea — Radio Free Asia

Report puts spotlight on PLA units deployed in South China Sea — Radio Free Asia

New systems of Peoples Liberation Army have been established and existing ones updated over the previous decade to man outposts in the South China Sea, leaving Chinas military much better placed to project power in the region, according to a new report.
The report The Peoples Liberation Army in the South China Sea: An Organizational Guide released by Recorded Future, a personal cybersecurity company, sheds light on the organizational structure of the PLA systems on the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
It evaluates and recognizes 9 particular PLA systems, mostly in the Paracel Islands that China calls Xisha, providing information of their possessions, facilities and duties.
China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and has actually been engaged in territorial conflicts with several neighboring countries.
Military duties
The Chinese military occupies the whole Paracels island chain and at least seven functions in the Spratlys, with the number of soldiers stationed there approximated at more than 10,000, according to the report.
The PLA systems “are accountable for protecting Chinas outposts in the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands,” it states, noting duties such as “operating radar setups, guaranteeing airfield assistance for air travel forces, training and commanding maritime militia forces, carrying out engineering jobs, supporting the launch and orbital management of spacecraft, and supplying air defense.”
These army units likewise “actively take part in military-civil fusion programs, including engaging in joint operations and exercises with civilian forces, preparing guidelines with civilian authorities, and coordinating the building and usage of physical infrastructure with civilian entities.”
With the main concentrate on the protection of Chinas maritime and territorial claims, the units have received sizable funding and grown quickly over the past years.
” In current years, the PLA has actually normally played a background role in Chinas technique to combine control over the South China Sea, offering a deterrent cover for frontline maritime law enforcement and maritime militia operations,” the report says.
Thanks to the development efforts, it is now much “much better located to safeguard Chinas maritime and territorial claims … job power within and beyond the very first island chain, control access to vital sea lines of communication … or engage the United States in a conflict over the status of Taiwan.”
The 33-page report offers extensive and current research on Chinas solid military existence on the islands and functions in the South China Sea.
Zachary Haver, China defense expert at Recorded Future and the author of the report, said it took him practically four months of devoted research utilizing a diverse set of open-source materials to complete the report.
” The greatest difficulty was identifying the PLA units,” he stated, “as the Chinese authorities are generally extremely mindful about securing their identities, especially in delicate locations like the South China Sea.”
China began fundamentally restructuring the PLA around 2015, according to Haver, and released a significant variety of new forces to the South China Sea over the previous decade.
” Moving forward, the PLA will likely continue building its capability to perform combat operations in the South China Sea, surveil foreign ships and aircraft operating in the region, and perform joint rights defense and rescue operations with Chinas maritime law enforcement and maritime militia forces,” the report concludes.
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