Beijing: Chinese maritime surveillance vessels, which were aggressively patrolling the disputed waters in the South China Sea, today drove out two Vietnam- registered fishing ships, state media reported.
The Vietnamese vessels were spotted this morning in the South China Sea near the Xisha Islands, which Hanoi calls as Paracel islands.
"They were suspected of illegal fishing within China`s territorial waters," state news agency Xinhua said, adding that "they were driven out of the waters by two China Marine Surveillance ships".
China has stepped up patrols in the South China Sea last year and for the first time deployed a helicopter on board the ship.
The fleet is conducting regular patrols of the Xisha Islands, which are now administered by Sansha City, which was set up in July last year, the report said.
State-run CCTV reported Marine Surveillance detachment on a nine day patrol finished patrol of the Yongle Archipelago of the Xisha Islands this morning. Law enforcement personnel landed on nine islands of the Yongle Archipelago and a helicopter took aerial photos.
An official with the detachment said they will build files for the islands.
The Islands, along with the Zhongsha and Nansha Islands, are administered by China`s Sansha City.
This is China`s first such patrol around the Xishas since Sansha City was set up in July last year, the CCTV reported.
China has been asserting it territorial claims over South China Sea since last year countering the claims of Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia over a host of islands resulting in the tensions Beijing and these countries.
While stepping up patrols in the South China Sea China asserts that there is no threat to international shipping in the region.
Besides tensions in the South China Sea, China also experiencing heightened tensions with Japan over the disputes islands in the East China Sea.