Early yesterday morning, Chinese warships passed through the Miyako Strait (or the Gonggu Strait 宫古海峡 in Chinese) just south-west of Okinawa, heading out in the western Pacific for the purpose of carrying out “routine training exercises”. The front page of the Shenzhen Evening News (深圳晚报) from Guangdong province illustrates the eastward maneuvers with a large graphic showing the ships crossing a clear red line (running south-westwards to the right of Taiwan) from what should be Chinese waters into international waters. A handful of other newspapers have also put the warships on their front pages today.
As the Shenzhen Evening News reports, The Chinese vessels in question belong the East Sea Fleet, and include the destroyers Hangzhou and Ningbo, the corvettes Zhoushan and Ma’anshan, and the supply ship Poyang Lake. These are some of China’s most potent warships, and the purpose of this long-distance training exercise, according to the newspaper, is to make sure these ships are battle ready, and will be able to undertake longer missions and successfully see to the attendant supply requirements. There’s nothing strange about such long-distance patrols, the newspaper says, China has organized such patrols various times before and all naval powers undertake such patrols in international waters from time to time.
On the same day Japanese media reported that a number of Japanese vessels were sent out to shadow and monitor the Chinese convoy. According to the latest news reports, these ships have not reported any of the Chinese vessels coming close to Japanese waters.
Here’s a few other front pages from today with a maritime flavor:
Links and sources
Shenzhen Evening News (深圳晚报): 中国海军舰艇编队 进入西太平洋训练