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Video shows ship packed with Chinese tanks for 'future battlefield' in Taiwan

Video shows ship packed with Chinese tanks for 'future battlefield' in Taiwan
Keoni Everington, 2021/10/18

Hundreds of tanks, assault vehicles shown inside 'big belly' of civilian RORO ship

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's military on Friday (Oct. 15) released a video showing a massive passenger ship fully loaded on every level with battle tanks and assault vehicles for a "future battlefield" in Taiwan.

CCTV-7, China's state-run television station geared for the People's Liberation Army (PLA), released a video that purported to show how many tanks and infantry fighting vehicles a passenger ship could hold inside its "big belly." The report identified the vessel as Zhong Hua Fu Xing, a ship ostensibly designed to carry passengers and cargo.

In August, reports surfaced that China is planning to recruit merchant roll-on-roll-off (RORO) ships to boost its ability to launch an amphibious invasion of Taiwan. These ships feature built-in ramps that can accommodate tanks and amphibious assault vehicles, the latter of which can be released while still at sea.

The video opens with crews guiding dozens of tanks and amphibious assault vehicles into the cargo hold of a large ship. The show's host says that troops from the PLA's 81st Group Army practiced loading military vehicles onto a ship and transported them to the "target port" that day.

According to shipping tracker VesselFinder, the ship departed from Qinhuangdao in northern Hebei at 6:41 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 14) and arrived in Port of Tianjin at 9:08 a.m. on Friday. The stated purpose of the exercise was to enhance the ability of PLA troops to be dispatched to a "future battlefield."

A reporter on the ship then explained how the vehicles are loaded into the ship's three levels of cargo storage. She described the ship as having a few hundred tanks and infantry fighting vehicles on board and said that they were packed so tightly that she had to walk sideways to navigate through the columns of vehicles.

She said that to maintain the force once it makes landfall, other support vehicles are also onboard, such as armored treatment vehicles, repair vehicles, and construction vehicles. The rest of the video featured live-fire exercises by attack helicopters and drones to soften defenses before an amphibious landing would take place.