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Tuesday, August 2, 2016, 14:55

Navy tests its capabilities with E China Sea drill

By An Baijie
Navy tests its capabilities with E China Sea drill
The missile destroyer Jinan of the People's Liberation Army Navy fires an anti-ship missile during a military drill held in the East China Sea on Monday. (Dai Zongfeng / For China Daily)

The Chinese Navy conducted a drill on Monday in the East China Sea that was intended to test "to the largest extent" its combat ability and equipment.

From the coastal city of Ningbo, in East China's Zhejiang province, Xinhua News Agency reported that the drill involved more than a hundred warships, squadrons of fighter jets, some land-based defense troops and radar, communication and electronic countermeasure forces.

The Donghai (East China Sea) Fleet, as well as some forces from the Beihai (North China Sea) and Nanhai (South China Sea) fleets, participated in the Navy's 11th annual military exercises, led by Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

Shen Yu, director of the Donghai Fleet training department, told Xinhua that the exercises tested various missiles and multiple-direction operations.

The warships successfully conducted several missile-interception operations, Xinhua reported.

Chen Shengqi, head of the drill's team of appraising experts, was quoted as saying that the warships had handled air, underwater and surface threats that closely resembled real combat.

The People's Liberation Army marked its 89th anniversary on Monday, which was also Army Day.

The exercises were the latest in a series of drills conducted amid rising maritime tensions. In July, the Navy held two South China Sea drills.

A number of additional exercises are planned as the country picks up the pace of its military reform, characterized by a historic shift in the PLA's organization and structure to gain a more efficient command system.

Peng Guangqian, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, said that in combination with the rapid development of China's military equipment and weapons, it is natural that the number of military exercises has increased.

The maritime challenges China faces are increasing, as well, making it necessary for the Navy to raise its ability to cope with the threats, Peng said.

Additionally, China's relationship with Japan remains tense over the Diaoyu Islands and that the mainland's ties with Taiwan have soured since the island's new leader took office in May, he said.

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