China-Russia to hold East China Sea naval drills
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China-Russia to hold East China Sea naval drills

BEIJING (AP) — China and Russia will hold joint naval exercises in the East China Sea amid regional tensions over island groups and airspace.

A notice on the Chinese Defense Ministry’s website Thursday said the “Jointly At Sea 2014” drills would begin in late May near Shanghai.

It said the latest in a series of joint drills aimed to deepen practical cooperation and boost their abilities to work together to respond to seaborne threats.

The East China Sea includes a string of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China, which regular dispatches patrol boats to confront Japanese coast guard vessels in the area.

China also sparked denouncements from Tokyo, Washington and others over its announcement in December of an air defense zone encompassing much of the airspace above the sea.