MOD: navy drills do not target neighbors
Updated: 2015-07-23 09:40
China firmly upholds her sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]
Exercise in S China Sea a 'routine' practice
The Chinese navy Wednesday kicked off a 10-day military training exercise in the South China Sea amid heightened tensions in the region.
The military drills will be held east of South China's Hainan Province from Wednesday to July 31, the Maritime Safety Administration announced Monday.
"The drills are regular military exercises scheduled in the annual plan, without targeting any other country," the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.
"Unlike US military forces that can be trained in wars, Chinese navy strength, which lags behind ground forces, needs to be enhanced via regular drills," Major General Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times.
Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, added that the drills will allow the Chinese navy force to share more international responsibilities with the US when providing maritime security, especially since the US has slammed China for being a "free-rider" in international issues for three decades.
The drills came after increasing tensions in the waters caused by a spate of incidents in recent months that involved the Philippines, the US and Japan.