CHINESE NAVY ‘LESS AGGRESSIVE’ IN PACIFIC: US ADMIRAL

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CHINESE NAVY ‘LESS AGGRESSIVE’ IN PACIFIC: US ADMIRAL Willard welcomes positive trend

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 12, 2011) - The head of US Pacific Command says China’s Navy has been less aggressive in the Pacific in recent months after protests from Washington and other nations.

Admiral Robert Willard has told American senators the trend since January represented a "positive" step.

"There has been a retrenchment a bit by the Chinese navy," he said.

"While we continue to experience their shadowing of some our ships that are operating in some of these waters, we have not seen the same level of assertiveness."

The admiral says he is heartened by the development which comes in the wake of US military relations resuming with China.

It followed mounting tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

China has claimed mineral rights around the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and argued that foreign navies cannot sail through the area without Beijing’s permission.

Last September, Japan and China clashed over the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China.

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