Chinese Navy begins exercise in Western Pacific

China continues to flex its muscles and irritate its neighbours. This is unlikely to make Japan and South Korea do their happy dance. The key phrase here is “open sea training” and the United States Navy should take clear notice that this indicates the Chinese are going to range far-and-wide throughout the Pacific.

Chinese warships sail to West Pacific for open-sea training

BEIJING, July 16 (ChinaMil) –Upon the end of the China-Russia maritime joint exercise codenamed “Maritime Joint Exercise 2013”, according to schedule, two warships of the Chinese naval taskforce set out on a return voyage to the fleet they belonged to, while the other five warships sailed through the La Pérouse Strait and the Sea of Ochotsk on July 14. The five warships will carry out open-sea training in the waters of the West Pacific during the homeward voyage.

The naval taskforce will conduct drills on such subjects as air-defense, anti-ship operations, attack-and-defense confrontation and so on, so as to explore the methods for carrying out normalized open-sea training and improve troop units’ capability for conducting actual-combat operations. Five warships of the North China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), namely, the guided missile destroyers “Shenyang“, “Shijiazhuang“, the guided missile frigates “Yancheng” and “Yantai“, and the comprehensive supply ship “Hongze Lake“, will participate in the regular training of 2013.

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency said that Japan is vigilant against the expanded range of activities of the PLAN. The NHK also pointed out that this is the first time for Chinese warships to sail through the La Pérouse Strait, and the Japan’s Ministry of Defense is analyzing China’s intentions.

In fact, however, it is very normal for the PLAN to make a return voyage through the La Pérouse Strait after the China-Russia joint exercise nearby the Vladivostok Base of the Pacific Fleet Headquarters of the Russian Navy to the north of the Sea of Japan.

Senior Captain Zhang Junshe expressed that the La Pérouse Strait is an international waterway between Russia’s Sakhalin Island and Japan’s Hokkaido Island, one of the exits from the Sea of Japan to the northernmost tip of the Pacific Ocean, and also a passageway for the Russian Pacific Fleet to and from the Pacific Ocean, and warships and aircraft of any country can sail freely through the strait.

In a press interview, Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo also pointed out that the China-Russia maritime joint exercise codenamed “Maritime Joint Exercise 2013” is PLAN’s first exercise in the Sea of Japan. It is a great training opportunity and also an important step towards understanding the Pacific Ocean for the PLAN to sail through the La Pérouse Strait and the Sea of Ochotsk to familiarize itself with the sea area, and enter the Pacific Ocean to carry out open-sea training.