The China's navy has smoothly completed its first formal blue water training mission of 2014. During the training, the formation crossed a series of rarely-crossed straits. When interviewed by a reporter, Major General Yin Zhuo said that all naval forces pay close attention to the crossing of straits by their own or other navies, and China's blue water training has been monitored by other countries.
During the exercise, the naval force crossed Sunda Strait, Lombok Strait and Makassar Strait. Although these border the South China Sea, Chinese naval vessels have rarely crossed them. However, merchant ships often cross them. Yin Zhuo said that large oil tankers, bulk cargo ships and container ships with a capacity of more than 100 thousand tons do not cross the Strait of Malacca. In most cases, they cross Lombok Strait and Sunda Strait.
Yin Zhuo explained that these recent straits crossings were motivated by a need to get to know the local hydrologic conditions, including water depth, width and current, and to become familiar with relevant legal systems.
He further pointed out that although the naval formation was not large in number, it was very heavy in tonnage. The exercise was intended as a demonstration of China's commitment to maintaining sovereignty and effective management of the South China Sea.
At present, the China's navy not only plays the role of "doorkeeper", but also undertakes the UN mission of maintaining regional peace and stability in the world's oceans. Yin said that the navy safeguards marine rights and interests in its own maritime areas, Nansha and Xisha, and also carries out UN missions in the Gulf of Aden, and is providing an escort service for the UN program to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.