China flexes maritime muscle amid dispute with Japan
Beijing: A fleet of 11 Chinese vessels, including some warships, on Friday carried out key exercises in the East China Sea, demonstrating Beijing's naval prowess amid a bitter dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands.
The one-day drills were focused on patrol tactics and better co-ordinate missions to deal with any interceptions by Japanese naval vessels to assert Tokyo's control over the disputed islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.
A total of 11 naval ships along the fishery administration and marine surveillance agency and eight aircraft took part in the exercises, state-run CCTV reported.
The exercises simulated a situation in which patrol vessels of the fishery administration and marine surveillance agency are being stalked, harassed and intentionally interfered with by foreign vessels, when carrying out missions in disputed waters. For the first time, a medical vessel is involved in the exercises.
Shen Hao, navy exercise conductor, said, "The joint exercises have many subjects and schedules. It involves the strongest forces in recent years and is a test to the navy's capability to safeguard territorial interests.
The drill includes commanding, organising, coordinating and ensuring comprehensive supply. It sharpens their response to emergencies in missions to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interests," he said.
China in the recent months asserting its claims on the islands after Japan bought the islands from a private owner. The islands are under the administrative control of Japan.