China-US tensions keep PLA sailors at sea for an extra four months in 2020

China-US tensions keep PLA sailors at sea for an extra four months in 2020

As tensions between China and the United States escalated in the Asia-Pacific region this year, some People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sailors were required to spend almost four months extra at sea, according to official social media reports.

The extension – which military insiders said was also due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic and launch of several new warships – affected servicemen and women with the Southern Theatre Command’s South Sea Fleet, which oversees security in the South China Sea, the PLA Navy said on WeChat.

Under normal circumstances, the sailors would have ended their tours in September, but as their colleagues prepared to leave, many found themselves engaging in so-called special tasks for a further 110 days, it said.

“After 110 days of hard work on the high seas … they have finally hung up their boots and returned home,” the navy said, without saying exactly when the sailors completed their tours or where they had been serving.