The ongoing drill by the People's Liberation Army in the Taiwan Straits is no more than a routine exercise and should not be overinterpreted, said military experts.
"I haven't noticed anything special in the drill because it is only a preplanned, routine exercise by the PLA ground force," a researcher with the PLA who declined to be named told China Daily on Friday.
"The event doesn't target anyone, so there should be no overinterpretation of it," he said.
The PLA was to begin holding a three-day live-fire drill in the Taiwan Straits on Friday, the Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said on Thursday in a notice issued to warn shipping away from the area. Coordinates given by the provincial administration indicated the affected waters are off the coast of Quanzhou.
Shells were to be fired from 3 to 5 pm each day and could reach an altitude of 8,000 meters, the notice said.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters on Thursday that the Fujian Provincial Military Command would conduct a routine live-fire training operation off the coast and that the drill was organized according to the military's annual plan.
Some media outlets in Taiwan were paying great attention to the drill, with some people who were interviewed suggesting that the drill may be targeting Taiwan as a response to the island's recent military exercises, the Beijing-based newspaper Global Times reported on Friday.
Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the newspaper that the revealed altitude within the area of firing shows the exercise might be conducted by anti-aircraft artillery.
Lin Yu-fang, a Taiwan legislator from the Kuomintang, told local media that the drill area is very small, so Taiwan people should not scare themselves over it.