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China announces deep-water naval exercise amid tensions with Japan over disputed islands

China says its navy will hold a deep-water training exercise amid a continuing spat with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the exercise would take place in the Pacific, beyond where the islands are located, and where deep waters are ideal for anti-submarine drills. The exercises reflect China's long-held aspirations to build a navy that can operate far from its shores.

Ships taking part in such exercises before have passed just north of the disputed islands, which lie midway between Taiwan and the Japanese island of Okinawa. Training takes place farther out to sea, although the exact location is not announced.

Both sides recently have scrambled jet fighters and confronted each other's patrol boats in tensions over the uninhabited islands.