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China sent the Type 055 Zunyi warship to exercise in the East Sea

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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showcased its newly commissioned 10,000 ton-class large destroyer, the Zunyi, during a combat-oriented exercise in the South China Sea. Analysts believe that the exercise displayed the ship’s rapid capability generation in defending national sovereignty, security, and maritime rights amid tensions in the region. The Zunyi conducted realistic air defense, anti-missile, and sea assault combat drills, effectively demonstrating its solo combat capabilities in the far seas.

China Central Television (CCTV) reported that during the exercise, the Zunyi’s early warning and detection systems successfully intercepted multiple suspected aerial targets. The warship adopted advantageous positions, released jamming rounds, and utilized its close-in weapon system to neutralize the threats. Additionally, the Zunyi responded with a fast counterattack and heavily damaged a hostile vessel target using its main gun.

Over the course of several days, the Zunyi engaged in complex maritime and air emergency drills and intensive training sessions. These included coordination with small boats, vessel-helicopter integrated search and rescue operations, and light arms firing. The exercise aimed to gain a comprehensive understanding of the new equipment’s capabilities and accelerate its practical application in joint scenarios, according to Zhang Shuliang, a member of an undisclosed detachment under the navy of the PLA Southern Theater Command.

Commissioned in April, the Zunyi is the seventh Type 055 large destroyer in the PLA Navy’s fleet. After more than half a year of training, analysts believe that the Zunyi is almost ready for combat. Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, stated that the Zunyi is rapidly developing its combat capabilities by leveraging the experience gained from previous Type 055 destroyers. As a technically mature warship, the Zunyi is forming systematic combat capabilities, enabling it to operate solo or as part of a task group.

The exercise took place amidst tensions in the South China Sea, with the Philippines reportedly stirring up trouble in the region since August. However, observers emphasize that the drills were not targeted at any specific party and assert that a navy equipped with powerful warships such as the Type 055 contributes to regional peace and stability. China, as a peace-loving country, needs to possess the strength to safeguard peace, stated Song. The Type 055 destroyer provides the PLA with greater confidence and capabilities to defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests.

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