Chinese Military Performs Exercise in East China Sea
By Jack Phillips On October 19, 2012 @ 4:42 pm In Regime | No Comments
Chinese navy and civilian ships carried out a joint exercise in the East China Sea recently, reported state-run media, suggesting that the communist regime is trying to show its military might amid a diplomatic row with Japan over the Senkaku Islands.
“The exercise was aimed at improving coordination between the navy and administrative patrol vessels, as well as sharpening their response to emergencies in order to safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests,” Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Xinhua reported.
Eleven ships, eight aircraft, and at least 1,000 naval, maritime surveillance, and fishery administration vessels took part in the operation, which Xinhua described as a “routine exercise.” It was conducted east of Zhoushan in China’s Zhejiang Province.
State-run media, which showed photos of Chinese warships, medics and military members, along with a helicopter, taking part in the drill, said there was simulated exercises on illegal entry, obstruction, “intentional interference,” and harassment by foreign vessels.
It said that during patrols in disputed waters, fishery and maritime surveillance patrol ships were “stalked” and “harassed,” without elaborating.
Last month, Japan purchased the remaining three islands from a Japanese businessman, a move that stoked tensions with China. Taiwan also lays claim to the islands, which are rocky and uninhabited, but are said to enjoy excellent fishing spots and nearby reserves of natural gas.
Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba, in an interview with the BBC on Thursday, defended Japan’s purchasing of the islands, saying that if Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara purchased the islands as he had announced, it would have created a more dramatic diplomatic situation. Ishihara, a far right politician who has long been critical of the Chinese regime, wanted to sail to the islands.
“Under such circumstance, the Tokyo metropolitan government could have bought them. The situation could have been much worse, if the government didn’t buy the islands, I believe that Mr. Ishihara would have landed on the islands by now,” Genba said.
Genba said Japan is the rightful owner of the islands, but added that Tokyo and Beijing should not escalate tensions.
“For Japan, China is the largest trading partner. Japan also has the largest number of businesses investing in China. On the issue of sovereignty, Japan cannot concede where it cannot concede. But our economies are interdependent and we want to cherish the mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.
Several Japanese businesses and corporations have been attacked by protesters in China during demonstrations, which were sparked by the fight over the islands. Major Japanese corporations, including Toyota and Nissan, also suspended production.
Tourists from both Japan and China have curtailed trips to each other’s countries.
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