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April 24, 2017

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Chinese to conduct naval exercise in East China Sea

BEIJING--China will conduct naval exercises on Friday in the East China Sea, the site of disputed islands that have strained ties between Tokyo and Beijing, state media said.

Both sides have adamantly pressed their claims to the Tokyo-controlled islands — known as the Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan — and the row has caused diplomatic and economic fallout between the historic rivals.

"The exercise is aimed at ... sharpening their response to emergencies in missions to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interests," the official Xinhua News Agency on Thursday quoted a navy statement as saying.

China has sent maritime surveillance ships and fisheries patrol vessels near the islands in recent weeks as the row has escalated, and on Wednesday a Chinese naval flotilla passed near the islands.

Friday's exercises will include vessels from the marine surveillance agency and fishery administration, both of which the statement said "have been stalked, harassed and even intentionally interfered with by foreign vessels."

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