While the Trump administration unveiling another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion – for which China's Commerce Ministry is planning “countermeasures,” Beijing quietly began conducting military drills at five bases for electronic warfare, cybersecurity, reconnaissance and tactical strikes at five training bases, reports the South China Morning Post.

-SCMP China's ground force said that the five new units were organized with the goal of “transforming their tradition combat role into a “modern army to right with the navy and air force,” along with the newly established strategic support unit and the rocket force.

The five theatre commands were established directly by President Xi Jinping – who replaced the army's seven military commands in February, 2016 to become chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The placement of electronic warfare assets, which are designed to confuse or disable communications and radar systems, comes on the heels of China's installation of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the hotly contested waters of the South China Sea.

The system is expected to be completed by 2020, and will significantly improve China's electronic warfare capabilities.  The Beidou system will definitely 'add wings' to the PLA, but only when all service troops are able to operate the new combat skills smoothly,” said Hong Kong-based military expert Song Zhongping, who added “Electronic warfare – like cyberwarriors and army aviation air strike operations – are strategically important in modern combat, as many new weapons also need the support of electronic facilities.”  Professor He Qisong, a defence policy specialist at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said the drills this week indicated that the PLA was exploring a new training model to prepare commanders and soldiers for modern warfare.

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