Comprehensive report by Singtao Daily: Eleven vessels and eight helicopters of the Chinese Navy, fisheries administration and marine surveillance agency conducted a large-scale joint island right-protection drill in the East China Sea.
Japanese media pointed out that the drill was a tough response to the island seizing drill that Japan and the US will soon carry out jointly. It displayed the PLA’s determination to be involved in the disputes over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.,
The drill code named “East China Sea Coordination – 2012” simulated the scenario of a Chinese law enforcement vessel being bumped and damaged by a foreign vessel. Navy missile frigates the Xuzhou and the Zhoushan, marine medical ship the Peace Arc, Kar-27 rescue helicopters and lots of fisheries administration and marine surveillance vessels took part in that joint drill, which has been the largest in scale over the past few years.
Shen Hao, deputy chief of staff of the East China Sea Fleet was the commander-in-chief of the drill. He said that the navy provided strong backing to the state’s maritime law enforcement force. The drill aimed at enhancing the various departments’ ability of command coordination and the handling of emergencies, improving the plans made in advance and accumulating experience in the struggle to maintain sovereignty in order to effectively safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.
China Will Resort to Force if Necessary
According to Japanese media, this rare instance of the Chinese government’s disclosing the information of the drill in advance and allowing official media to give public reports was meant to warn Japan. It indicates in advance that China has the capability to maintain the integrity of its territories and the sovereignty of state. It brought a warning to Japanese patrol vessels and told them not to impede China’s official vessels.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun points out that the drill obviously tells the Japanese government that Chinese troops will be deployed in the fight to maintain the sovereignty over Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands if necessary. In the past, in order to avoid military conflicts with Japan, China never sent troops to deal with the Diaoyu issue. However, in the future, the issue may intensify the conflict between the two countries.
The US and Japan are to Conduct Drill at Okinawa Next Month
Japan Self-defence Forces and US troops stationed in Japan are to conduct a joint island seizing drill at Okinawa near the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands next month. Japan’s Jiji Press believes that China’s joint drill this time was a tough response to Japan and the US’s planned military drill.
Regarding the PLA’s drill in the East China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stressed at a routine press conference that the Chinese government’s determination and will to maintain the sovereignty of the state and integrity of its territories are firm and unshakable.
He hoped that Japan would be able to face the reality squarely, correct its mistake and return to the track of resolving the disputes over Diaoyu Islands through dialogue and negotiation.
- Chinese warships 43 nautical miles away from Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (chinadailymail.com)
- China and Japan: The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands under international law (chinadailymail.com)
- Japanese media weigh up Chinese drill in East China Sea (wantchinatimes.com)
- China’s naval exercises in East China Sea send warning to regional rivals (csmonitor.com)