China is feeling a little snubbed that they can't send observers to watch amphibious assault exercises being conducted by the U.S. and South Korea. Several requests were made earlier this year, but South Korea said no. The Chinese may call off a courtesy visit to South Korea in November in retaliation. China wants to observe the exercises in order to gain insight into U.S. amphibious warfare doctrine. Everyone is aware that the Chinese ability to conduct amphibious assault would play a key role in any potential military action against Taiwan.
China conducted its own tactical-level amphibious exercises, with live fire, involving troops from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy infantry (their version of marines) last November. China invited foreign observers from France, Germany, and Mexico. After protesting about not being invited, the UK sent observers as well. Mid-ranking military personnel from 32 countries participating in the PLA's Asia-Pacific Symposium were present as well.
Foreign observers saw about 90 minutes of the exercise and described it as "fairly basic" and "very well executed." It was obvious, however, that the PLA had a long way to go to match their capabilities to their ambitions for operations against Taiwan. The observers were also carefully questioned by PLA personnel during the exercise seeking insight into amphibious operational issues Doug Mohney