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International relations

China mobilizes civilian ferries for Taiwan invasion drills

Giant vessels could help Beijing leapfrog amphibious transport bottleneck

Open source research and Chinese media reports suggest the Bo Hai Ma Zhu civilian ferry has been used in People's Liberation Army drills. (Photo from Bohai Ferry website)

TAIPEI -- China's long-standing threats to invade Taiwan would require the biggest amphibious invasion in human history -- and analysts say recent military activities, including exercises using commercial ferries, appear designed to practice exactly that.

One of the most-discussed missing pieces to the puzzle for planners in Beijing is amphibious lift capability -- the ability to move equipment and personnel across the Taiwan Strait and unload off the main island's rugged coast.

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