PLA navy holds patrols near Diaoyu after exercise

by Guest on December 11, 2012

A flotilla of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy patrolled waters near the Diaoyu Islands on Monday after returning from a training exercise in the West Pacific.

It was also the first time China confirmed naval operations in the waters near the Diaoyu Islands on the same day they were carried out.

The flotilla, consisting of the DDG-136 Hangzhou and DDG-139 Ningbo destroyers, as well as the two frigates FFG-525 Ma’anshan and FFG- 529 Zhoushan from the navy’s Donghai Fleet, passed through the Miyako Strait and entered the West Pacific for a routine training drill on November 28.

After finishing a series of training operations, the flotilla sailed through a strait near the Yonaguni and Iriomote Islands and arrived in waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands Monday morning.

Qiu Yanpeng, commander of the task force and also the Donghai Fleet’s vice commander, said the Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islets have been part of China’s inherent territory since ancient times.

China’s navy had a legitimate right to patrol in waters under Chinese jurisdiction and it is the navy’s responsibility to safeguard the country’s maritime territory and interests, Qiu said.

Monday’s patrol in the waters near the Diaoyu Islands was the third of its kind conducted since Japan stirred up tensions with China over the islands earlier this year.

Sources with the Ministry of National Defense said a seven-warship task force from the navy’s Beihai Fleet patrolled the waters near the Diaoyu Islands on October 16.

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