South China Sea: Military exercises ‘must continue’ says expert
During a live-fire exercise in east China, the Chinese military unveiled a new type of all-terrain self-propelled howitzer. The new vehicle is capable of manoeuvring off-road and still maintaining its speed.
The footage shows the 122-millimetre guns mounted on the back of modified six-wheeled Dongfeng Mengshi armoured vehicles.
During the military exercise, the howitzers were fired by the PLA’s 72nd Group Army, which is part of its Eastern Theatre Command.
Li Qiuyu, a company commander, told China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, the new assault vehicle-mounted howitzers were more capable than the army’s heavier truck-mounted guns.
Li said the vehicles can be driven across all terrains and can overcome obstacles in the battlefield.
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The vehicle’s destination is not yet known but media outlets have said the PCL-171 is the “little brother” of the PCL-181.
Although this was the first official footage of the PCL-171, the vehicle’s were spotted rolling through the streets of east China back in August.
The PCL-181 was unveiled at China’s National Day military parade last year.
These weapons carry a 155-millimetre gun-howitzer and have been seen protecting Chinese troops in the Himalayas.
Border tensions between Beijing and India have reached boiling point over recent months following a bloody clash between troops on the highly disputed Himalayan border.
Both countries deployed troops to the disputed Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
The latest clash saw fatalities on both sides and marked the first bloody altercation between the two countries in 45 years.
The Times of India initially reported at least 20 Indian soldiers had been killed.
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According to US News, both sides had agreed to disarm as they confronted each other in the highly dispute mountainous region in order to determine how they would both withdraw their military from the area.
A physical confrontation between troops erupted as the meeting grew tense and fights broke out.
According to news reports, all of the casualties were from the use of batons, knives and falls on the steep land.
Fears of a World War 3 outbreak have been raised as the Communist nation continues to develop intercontinental missiles.
Thomas de Maizière, co-head of NATO’s reflection group, warned allies that they must not be “indifferent” to the potential serious threat of China.
The former German defence minister said: “China is not yet a serious military threat but a potential one.
“China is arming, albeit from a low level.
“China is developing intercontinental missiles that could reach the whole world.
“China also threatens its neighbours.
“We must not be indifferent to this.”
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