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US, China Conduct 'Unplanned Encounters' Joint Naval Drills

© Flickr / Official U.S. Navy PageSHANGHAI (Nov. 20, 2015) Sailors aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) prepare to leave port while the People’s Liberation Army Navy Jiangkai II class guided-missile frigate Xuzhou (FFG 530) gets underway
SHANGHAI (Nov. 20, 2015) Sailors aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) prepare to leave port while the People’s Liberation Army Navy Jiangkai II class guided-missile frigate Xuzhou (FFG 530) gets underway - Sputnik International
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During the drills, the US Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Stethem alongside China’s People's Liberation Army-Navy PLA guided-missile frigate Xuzhou conducted search and rescue and used unplanned encounters to indicate ship maneuvering as well as passed along Morse code to one another.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Navy explained the naval drills focused on guidelines for unplanned maritime encounters while at sea.

"The exercise was the culmination of our visit with the PLA Navy," Stethem's commanding officer Cmdr. Harry Marsh said. "Each day and interaction brought our crews and navies closer, so that by the end of the week, the exercise was smoothly conducted."

Chinese Navy personnel stand watch the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay for a scheduled port visit in Shanghai, China, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. - Sputnik International
Despite Tensions, China and US to Hold Naval Drills
"[The drills outline] standards for communication, safety procedures, and maneuvering instructions" for both countries’ ships and aircraft, the US Navy added.

During the drills, the Stethem and Xuzchou conducted search and rescue and used unplanned encounters to indicate ship maneuvering as well as passed along Morse code to one another.

The drills, which appear to have been conducted in the area of the East China Sea, come as relations between China and US ally Japan, have been strained over a dispute over the uninhabited Senkaku, or Diaoyudao, Islands in the East China Sea, which both countries lay claims on.

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