China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has a long tradition of summoning demobilized sailors and officers to participate in military drills, PLA Daily said, dismissing speculation that the Chinese military is preparing for militarization in the South China Sea.
"According to Chinese law, army reserves conduct standard annual training, while navy drills in past years have seen regular participation by demobilized soldiers, and especially officers, who are able to operate equipment on the vessels with minimal training," PLA Daily wrote in an official Weibo post late on July 11.
The post came after news spread of an alleged PLA notice from Taojiang county, Hunan province, summoning a demobilized navy officer to participate an unspecified military mission from July 10 to July 22.
Many have speculated that the summons is related to the South China Sea issue, and some even viewed the news as evidence of China's attempts to militarize the region.
"It is the common wish of many demobilized soldiers to return to the military in the context of a battle summons," PLA Daily noted.
In June 2015, over 120 demobilized officers participated in a four-day live ammunition military drill in the South China Sea. The officers had all been demobilized within the past five years, and all had strong professional skills, according to PLA Daily.