04:02 GMT +321 January 2018
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    Type 056 corvette 503 firing short range anti-air missile during exercise

    Beijing’s New Corvette Enters Service in East China Sea

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    Asia & Pacific
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    A Type 056 Jiangdao-class corvette equipped with torpedo and missile launchers has joined China's People's Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) East Sea Fleet, amid rising tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over disputed areas in the East China Sea.

    The vessel, called the Huai'an, became the 27th Type 056 ship to enter into service with the Chinese naval forces. Introduced in 2012, ships of this class are the most numerous vessels in the PLAN.

    The US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) assessed that China is preparing to build up to 60 similar corvettes to serve in territorial waters. Reports suggest that the keel of the 31st corvette was laid in December 2015.

    Huai'an, under operational number 509, will likely be deployed to the 22nd light frigate squadron at a base at Putuoshan, IHS Jane’s reported. The 1,500-ton corvette is fitted with four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, a 76 mm gun, two triple-barrelled lightweight torpedo launchers, and an eight-cell HQ-10 short-range surface-to-air missile launcher.

    At Putuoshan it will join three other Type 056 vessels. Two of the deployed vessels in squadron, numbers 593 and 594, are designed for anti-submarine warfare.

    The news comes in the wake of mounting tensions over East China Sea’s Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese) between Beijing and Tokyo. The long-term dispute was reignited after The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled on July 12 that China does not have rights to contested areas it has claimed in the South China Sea.

    Since that time, military buildup by both sides has taken place in the region, triggering a rise in tensions.

    In early August, Chinese media reported that the PLAN undertook large-scale maneuvers in the East China Sea, engaging 300 military vessels, dozens of aircraft and coastal guard ground-troop units.

    The drills were followed by 230 Chinese fishing boats sailing into disputed waters, angering Japan and resulting in a harsh diplomatic exchange between the two nations.

    China has used a gas drilling platform near the disputed waters to deploy a radar array designed to detect ships, causing criticism in Japan. Beijing, expressed concern over Tokyo’s intentions to deploy by 2023, on its Miyako-jima Island, anti-ship missiles capable of reaching the disputed areas. Following the moves, experts have suggested that the sides are entrenching for conflict escalation.

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    Tags:
    anti-ship missiles, disputed waters, torpedo, corvette, tensions, People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), East China Sea, China, Japan
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