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The three-ship flotilla consists of an amphibious landing craft Changbaishan and destroyers Wuhan and Haikou, according to Chinese military sources.
The ships had earlier conducted drill in the Indian Ocean on January 29 which included “anti-pirate, joint search and rescue as well as damage control drills”.
Exercises based on defense and emergency settlement were also conducted to test the command system’s response and soldiers’ combat skills, reported local media.
Changbaishan is the China’s largest landing ship by gross tonnage and is equipped with an advanced weapons system. Both Wuhan and Haikou have experience of major drills and escort missions in the Gulf of Aden.
The Chinese flotilla passed along the Lombok Strait, Makassar Strait and the Sulawesi Sea to enter the West Pacific Ocean according to the drill plan.
The United States had in November last year reassured allies in Asia that its pledges to the “critical region” remain the centrepiece of its foreign policy.
The “Pivot to Asia”, one of the Obama administration’s central foreign policy initiatives was announced during the current president’s first term in office. The rebalancing strategy of the US has been criticised by Beijing as a bid to contain the rising economic and political clout of China.
China has become the largest trade partner with most Asian countries and its direct investments in the region are surging.
Obama’s “near term” goals include lasting progress on enhancing security and 60 per cent of the US fleet will be based in the Pacific by 2020, said US National Security Advisor Susan Rice last year.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had also explained America’s Pacific Dream in a visit to Japan last April.
TBP and Agencies