Chinese military holds exercises at time of tensions with Taiwan

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The Independent Online

China's military practiced storming a beach late last month in a landing exercise that demonstrated the combat strength of its amphibious forces, the army newspaper reported Sunday.

China's military practiced storming a beach late last month in a landing exercise that demonstrated the combat strength of its amphibious forces, the army newspaper reported Sunday.

The May 27 landing exercise near the northeastern port city of Yantai came as other Chinese forces held live-fire artillery drills on the southeast coast opposite China's rival, Taiwan.

While Taiwan has dismissed the artillery drills as routine, China has intensified threats to intimpting talks to end the 51-year separation between the island and mainland.

The landing exercise in Yantai was conducted by units of the Jinan Military Region, said the Liberation Army Daily, newspaper of the People's Liberation Army. It did not disclose the number of units involved and gave few other details on the exercise but said they succeeded in ousting enemy forces and taking the beach.

The amphibious units have become "an important combat force," the newspaper said.

Despite China's threats to retake Taiwan by force, foreign military analysts believe the Chinese military lacks sufficient naval and air power to invade the island 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the east.

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