Chinese Navy holds live-fire drills in East China Sea

by

Staff Writer

The Chinese Navy held live-fire drills in the East China Sea on Monday, the Defense Ministry said in a short statement posted to its website.

The drills, the statement said, involved firing dozens of missiles and torpedoes and was aimed at bolstering “the assault intensity, precision, stability and speed of troops amid heavy electromagnetic influences,” an apparent reference to electronic warfare.

“An information technology-based war at sea is sudden, cruel and short, which requires fast transition to combat status, quick preparation and high assault efficiency,” the statement said.

The drill involved naval aviation forces, including submarines, ships and coast guard servicemen.

The statement did not specify where in the waters the military exercises were held.

The East China Sea is home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyus.

China has ramped up its military and coast guard activity in the waters in recent months, with the Japanese Defense Ministry reporting early last month that fighter jets had been scrambled a record 199 times between April and June in response to Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace.

Tokyo and Beijing have also traded barbs over an alleged encounter in the skies over the East China Sea in June in which China claimed that an Air Self-Defense Force fighter jet used fire-control radar to “light up” a Chinese aircraft, a provocative action.

The Japanese government dismissed the claim as baseless.

In the South China Sea, where Beijing is embroiled in bitter disputes with some of its neighbors, China announced last week that it would hold joint naval drills with Russia in September.

China’s Defense Ministry called the drills “routine,” saying they were not directed at any third party.

The planned drills come at a time of heightened tensions in the waters after an international arbitration tribunal last month rejected Beijing’s historic claims to much of the South China Sea. China rejected the decision, blasting the proceedings as a “farce” and calling the ruling “waste paper.”

Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in annual trade passes. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have rival claims.

It has also constructed man-made islands on some of the features it controls in the waters, on which it has built military-grade infrastructure, including airstrips and radar facilities.