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China held naval exercises in the East China Sea today in a robust show of military force intended to warn regional rivals against escalating territorial disputes.

China regularly holds maritime drills in the fall, but “sources close to the military” said the drills were related to a territorial dispute that has been the source of recent flare-up between China and Japan, the Financial Times reports.

Japan and China have long been at odds over a string of islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, but tensions ratcheted up last month when the Japanese government agreed to buy three of the islands that were privately owned by a Japanese businessman. The incident brought relations between the countries to a 40-year low and prompted the cancellation of celebrations planned for last month to fete the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations, as The Christian Science Monitor reported in an in-depth report on the dispute last month.

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

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China held naval exercises in the East China Sea today in a robust show of…