341 words - February 1, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Warships of China’s North China Sea Fleet left a military port in Qingdao on January 29 for routine open-sea training in the West Pacific Ocean, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense’s information office said on January 30. The fleet comprises three ships - the missile destroyer Qingdao and the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng - carrying three helicopters, all from the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy.
The ships have all been manufactured by China, PLA Navy sources indicated. The Qingdao, with a displacement of 4,800 tons, is among China's second-generation missile destroyers, was commissioned in 1993 and has taken part in escort missions in the Gulf of Aden. The Yantai and Yancheng, belong to China's newest type of missile frigates, with a displacement of 4,050 tons.
Such maneuvers take place amid increasing tensions with neighboring nations, especially Japan whose new government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe envisages a strengthening of the Japanese Defense Forces (JDF). Although the situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea is becoming increasingly complex, the training area includes the Yellow, East China and South China seas, the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel and the sea area east of Taiwan.
According to China, the Chinese Navy has flexed its muscles as a means of deterrence. "Deterrence is an effective way to avoid conflict," explained Xia Liping, dean of the School of Political Science and International Relations at Tongji University. The fleet's commander Tian Zhong told Xinhua that conducting training in international waters is normal practice among various navies around the world, as well as part of China's regular efforts to improve the PLA Navy's combat capabilities.
In mid-January 2013, a submarine of a submarine flotilla of the South China Sea Fleet under the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been cruising in the South China Sea. The submarine conducted a drill of laying underwater mines. Chinese submarine flotillas have completed a number of live-ammunition drills in recent years.
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