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Japan, Malaysia conduct joint coast guard drills

By Elizabeth Shim
Japan’s coast guard was active in the South China Sea on Monday. File Pool Photo by Katsumi Kasahara/EPA
Japan’s coast guard was active in the South China Sea on Monday. File Pool Photo by Katsumi Kasahara/EPA

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Coast guard teams from Japan and Malaysia conducted a joint anti-piracy drill in the South China Sea, although the number of pirate attacks against ships has steadily dwindled since 2010.

Patrol vessels from the two countries engaged in training that included rescue scenarios in a hostage situation, NHK World reported Monday.

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Japanese and Malaysian boats, including a patrol boat Japan provided to Malaysia, would approach a "pirate" ship and command it to suspend operations with whistles, according to the report.

A Malaysian special assault task force climbed down from a helicopter to conduct the rescue.

Capt. Yuji Yamamoto of the patrol vessel Tsugaru said he hopes more drills will take place with Malaysia.

The exercises took place in a portion of the South China Sea near the Malaysian coast.

China has engaged in unimpeded island-building activities in disputed waters.

Military facilities have been constructed on the Spratly Islands, also claimed by neighbors Malaysia and Vietnam.

Beijing continues to make improvements to its army, and have begun to deploy drones to transport supplies, according to the Chinese air force.

The Chinese military said large e-commerce companies SF Express and JD.com took part in the deliveries, which took place last Wednesday in remote southwest Yunnan and northwest Shaanxi Provinces.

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According to Beijing's air force network, SF Express was able to deliver parts needed to repair a damaged radar in Yunnan in an hour, or half the time it would take to deliver parts by truck in mountainous areas.

In Shaanxi, antidote for a snake-bitten Chinese soldier was delivered in 22 minutes, a process which would have taken two hours without drones, Beijing stated.

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