China holds drills in East China Sea amid island dispute
Washington: China is holding Naval exercises in the East China Sea in a robust show of its military force, intended to warn regional rivals against escalating territorial disputes.
Though China regularly holds maritime drills in the fall, but "sources close to the military" claimed that the drills were related to a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu islands, that has been the cause of recent flare-up between the nation and Japan.
Japan and China have long been at odds over the islands, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, but tensions ratcheted up last month when the Japanese Government agreed to buy three of the islands that were privately owned by a Japanese businessman, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
According to a statement by the East Sea Fleet, which is participating in the drill, the simulated scenario includes a collision in which the Chinese ships are damaged and some patrol staff are hurt and fall into the water. The East Sea Fleet then “sends a frigate, a hospital ship, a tugboat, advanced fighters and helicopters for support, cover and emergency rescue,” the report said.
“With this content, this drill must be seen in the context of the Diaoyu Islands,” said a source familiar with the military’s intentions.
However, Chinese news agency Xinhua claimed that the Navy held the exercises with the fishery administration and marine surveillance agency in order to "improve coordination" and their ability to respond to emergencies.
Japan also is planning to hold similar drills with the US later this year, which would be centered around a theoretical challenge of "taking a remote island back from a foreign intruder,” the report said.