The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Pla) Navy is set to hold naval exercises in the East China Sea, amid increasing tensions with Japan over an area of disputed islands.
In an official statement quoted by Xinhua News Agency, it said that the exercises were aimed at ‘improving coordination between the navy and administrative patrol vessels and sharpening their response to emergencies in missions to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interests’.
The statement claimed that the fishery administration and marine surveillance agency’s patrol vessels have previously been tracked, harassed and obstructed by foreign vessels when carrying out missions in disputed waters.
The drills are intended to improve interoperability between the navy and administrative patrol vessels.
A total of 11 vessels from the PLA Navy‘s Donghai Fleet, the agency and eight aircraft will conduct simulated missions during the exercise.
In addition to testing contingency plans, the administrative vessels will also perform patrol support missions with navy vessels, as part of the drills.
Many joint exercises have been conducted earlier by the PLA Navy along with the fishery administration and marine surveillance agency.
For some time, both countries been disputing the islands, known as Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan.
China claims that it owned the islands for centuries, while Japan maintains that control of them was lost after World War II and was later regained in 1972.
Meanwhile, Japan and the US are planning to hold a joint military exercise in Okinawa as a part of broader joint manoeuvres in early November.