Beijing: China has deployed four surveillance naval ships to patrol the South China Sea in a bid to assert its sovereignty over a host islands which were also claimed by a number of states in the region as part of their exclusive economic zone.
A team of four China Marine Surveillance ships has sailed from south China`s coastal city of Sanya to the South China Sea to conduct regular patrols, state-run media reported here.
According to an official of China`s Marine Surveillance, the team is expected to travel more than 2,400 nautical miles as part of the patrol.
The CMS launched regular patrols in 2006 in a bid to highlight sovereignty and jurisdiction as an important part of the country`s efforts to protect its marine interests.
The CMS is a maritime law enforcement agency of the State Oceanic Administration.
Its role includes enforcing law and order within China`s territorial waters and preventing harm to the marine environment.
The timing of the deployment of the ships came as Philippines and Vietnam made strong moves to assert their claims on some of the resource-rich islands.
Besides the two, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan too have made strong claims over the islands which China claims as its inherent territory.
While Philippines has deployed its naval vessels in `Panatag` Shoal, which China calls as `Huangyan Island`, Vietnam has passed a new law by its Parliament asserting that Xisha and Nansha Islands as called by China are part of its territory.
China summoned the Vietnamese Ambassador and objected to the resolution.
A Chinese naval official also expressed reservations over the Rim of the Pacific Drills 2012 being staged in Hawaii by United States along with navies of 21 countries including India and Russia.
A Chinese naval spokesman told the CCTV that China was not deliberately invited by the United States. Also China was projected as the imaginary enemy in the exercises by Washington.
Meanwhile reports from Manila also said the Chinese fishing boats have returned to the South China Sea depite an agreement to clear the area of all vessels.