STORY: Three advanced Chinese warships conducted multi-type combat training in the South China Sea Saturday, state media reported, as tensions with neighbors over disputed islands remain high.
The training was aimed at testing the scouting, patrolling, fighting and defending abilities of the helicopters onboard the fleet, which is comprised of the missile destroyer Qingdao and the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng, according to state television CCTV.
During the training, the helicopters pinpointed targets in the air and under the sea before sending the locations back to the Qingdao missile destroyer for missile launching, said CCTV.
The fleet left the Qingdao port in eastern Shandong province on Tuesday for naval drills and war games in the Western Pacific and South China Sea, according to official Xinhua news agency.
Xinhua said the exercises would take in the "Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel and the seas to the east of Taiwan".
According to Xinhua, the fleet will conduct more than 20 types of exercise in maritime confrontation, law enforcement and open-sea naval commanding.
It described the maneuvers as routine, but they come as China is engaged in an increasingly bitter, high stakes dispute over maritime territory with Japan and with several Southeast Asia nations.