Beijing [China], May 9 (ANI): Amid tensions in the South China Sea, China and Indonesia conducted joint naval exercises near Jakarta, Beijing said on Sunday.
Citing the Defence Ministry, South China Morning Post reported that the drills, which took place on Saturday, were part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's annual training programme.
China's Liuzhou and Suqian guided-missile frigates joined Indonesia's KRI Usman Harun frigate and KRI Halasan missile craft in the exercises, which included communication drills, search and rescue operations and formation manoeuvres, the Ministry said.
While military officials from China and Indonesia have called for closer cooperation, the two countries have clashed over fishing rights near the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea. Although Jakarta is not involved in any territorial disputes in the waterway, it considers the waters off the Natunas to be part its exclusive economic zone, though Beijing claims it has historical rights to fish there, South China Morning Post reported.
The PLA Navy began its annual training programme in April. The defence ministry said last week that the country's first domestically developed aircraft carrier, the Shandong, and its support group had begun an exercise in the South China Sea, soon after the Liaoning carrier group completed its latest manoeuvres in the waters.
Shandong was China's second aircraft carrier and this is the first time it has embarked on exercises made aware to the general public in 2021, the Global Times reported.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)