Exercises highlight special-ops forces of PRC, Taiwan – People’s Republic of China

Exercises highlight special-ops forces of PRC, Taiwan – People’s Republic of China – Brief Article

Dr. Graham H. Turbiville Jr.

Activities of the special-operations forces of both the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan were highlighted in May and June, months that were marked by military exercises on both sides of the Strait of Taiwan. An article in the Shanghai newspaper Jiefang Ribao discussed the history and the development of the PRC’s special forces. The initial special-forces groupings of the Red Army (1927-46) — said to be equipped simply with “one rope and one knife” and trained to “strike, kick, and run a long distance” — were referred to as “reconnaissance infantry” or “reconnaissance teams operating in the enemy’s rear.” The article took note of the Red Army’s “elite handgun team” and the “armed work team operating in the enemy’s rear” who operated against the Japanese during World War II. Chinese special-operations forces operated against the U.S. in North Korea, destroying bridges and attempting to disrupt U.S. operations. According to the article, however, special forces of “true significance in China” were not deve loped until the 1980s. Re-equipping and training of the PRO forces were undertaken to prepare them to operate in a variety of reconnaissance and direct-action missions hundreds and thousands of kilometers away. Because of their unique organization and training, the army, navy and air-force special-operations units were characterized as “three mini armed forces” that by virtue of their training and high readiness were able to deploy rapidly. Also in May and June, Taiwan’s main special-operations unit, the 862nd Brigade, participated in an exercise in a mountainous region of central Taiwan. The exercise was “mainly designed to test the special-operations forces’ combat skills, including infiltration in forest areas and the blasting of mock radar stations in mainland China’s southeastern coastal regions,” and it included a broad range of additional general and specialized training. During the exercise, the Taiwanese forces conducted a 300-km march through mountainous areas before reaching a designated training s ite. Such training is judged essential in the face of what has been termed “mainland China’s intensified military threat against Taiwan.”

COPYRIGHT 2001 John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group