MISSILE DESTROYER QINGDAO, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy fleet conducted the year's first open-sea training exercise in the West Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning after sailing through the Miyako Strait as scheduled, military sources revealed.
The navy fleet entered the strait at 5:50 a.m. Thursday and sailed into the West Pacific at about 10:00 a.m., according to the sources.
The fleet arrived at its training area as planned, though it met with moderately high waves while passing through the strait, the sources added.
The fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Qingdao and the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng -- carrying three helicopters, all from the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defense announced that a Chinese navy fleet would conduct a training exercise in the Pacific after sailing through the island chain.
The statement from the ministry's information office said it is a regular arrangement in line with the navy's annual training plan, adding that the PLA Navy conducted seven similar training exercises last year.
The fleet set off from a military port in east China's Qingdao City on Tuesday morning. It is expected to conduct multi-program open-sea training sessions during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, which begins on Feb. 9.
The fleet's commander Tian Zhong told Xinhua in an earlier interview that conducting training in international waters is normal practice among various navies around the world, as well as part of China's regular efforts to improve the PLA Navy's combat capabilities.