South China Morning Post The People's Liberation Army conducted a night live-fire drill in the border province of Yunnan as fighting continued between government troops and ethnic Chinese rebels in neighbouring Myanmar, according to mainland media. by Andrea Chen
'China Central Television's military channel reported on Tuesday night
that a brigade from the Yunnan-based 14th Army Corps "recently" carried
out a large-scale live-fire drill in mountain areas in the west of the
province to test the troops' "combat readiness at night".
'Footage of the drills showed soldiers equipped with flamethrowers conducting various exercises under intense artillery fire.
'The report did not disclose other details of the exercise.
'The drills came after China claimed earlier this month that a
Myanmese warplane dropped a bomb on a sugarcane field in the province,
killing five residents and injuring eight.
'Myanmar's presidential office denied that one of its warplanes
strayed into Chinese territory during the fighting with the rebels in
the border region of Kokang. A senior official from the office told the
Associated Press that the bombing could have been the work of a group
seeking to create confusion.
'Shen Shishun , director of the department of Asia-Pacific security
and cooperation at the China Institute of International Studies, said
the drill was a message to both the Myanmese government and Chinese
residents in the area that China's forces had stepped up defences.
'"Even though the China-Myanmar border is peaceful at the moment, the
defence forces are preparing for the worst, that the conflict across the
border will get out of control," Shen said.
'He said the drill was also aimed at Chinese residents who accused Beijing of not taking enough action after the bombing.
'Government forces in Myanmar are fighting ethnic Chinese rebels in Kokang. China's Global Times
said last week that some of the battles took place as close as 1km from
the border - so close that motorists on the Chinese side pulled over to
watch the action.
'The PLA had boosted its presence in the province, and artillery and
military aircraft would launch exercises there, the paper said.
'It also said that fighter jets had been scrambled to track, monitor,
warn and chase away Myanmese military planes flying close to the border.
'Foreign Minister Wang Yi also visited Yunnan last week for talks with local officials about border security, Yunnan Daily said.'