Chinese 'shock' troops storm beach near Taiwan in training exercise

China's military has revealed it carried out beach-landing and assault drills "in recent days" directly across the sea from Taiwan.

Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have spiked in recent weeks, as concerns grow that China is preparing to mount a full-scale invasion.

The Chinese military did not explicitly link the drills to those tensions, but the official People's Liberation Army Daily newspaper said the exercise had involved "shock" troops, sappers and boat specialists.

In a short post on its Weibo microblogging site, it said the troops were "divided into multiple waves to grab the beach and perform combat tasks at different stages".

The Chinese military has followed its beach landing and assault drills in Fujian province, which faces Taiwan. Photo / Supplied

A video showed soldiers in small boats storming a beach, throwing smoke grenades, breaking through barbed wire defences and digging trenches in the sand, Reuters reported.

The exact timing of the drill has not been revealed, but the announcement comes on the back of a record-breaking upsurge of Chinese military aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets, flying into Taiwan's air defence zone – the buffer area close to its sovereign airspace.

The Chinese Communist Party claims the island democracy of 23.5 million as its own territory, even though it has never ruled there and Taiwan operates as an independent country with its own government, foreign policy and military.

Fujian province, where the drills took place, would be a key launching site for any Chinese invasion of Taiwan due to its geographical proximity.

Over the weekend, Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, and Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's leader, went head-to-head in speeches outlining their opposing views on cross-Strait relations.

On Saturday, Xi vowed to pursue "reunification" with Taiwan and warned against efforts to seek independence. On Sunday, Tsai responded in her National Day address by saying Taiwan would not bow to Beijing's pressure.

Aged anti-landing barricades are positioned on a beach facing China on the Taiwanese island of Little Kinmen. Photo / Getty Images

Over the weekend, a row also broke out between Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister, and the Chinese government after he criticised China's human rights record under the "cult of the red emperor".

The Chinese embassy in Canberra hit back, calling Abbott a "failed and pitiful politician" and accusing him of a "despicable and insane performance in Taiwan".

On Monday, Zhao Lijian, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Beijing had made "formal complaints" to Canberra.

China's threats against Taiwan and increasingly belligerent foreign policy have raised alarm in global capitals.


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