China’s navy announced plans to conduct exercises in the East China Sea, in a move which could further heighten tensions with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, Bloomberg reported. The navy will join the fishery administration and marine surveillance in running drills today with 11 ships and eight aircrafts. The exercises aim to “safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interest,” the Navy’s Donghai fleet said in a statement. The announcement comes just two days after Japan’s opposition leader visited a shrine honoring the country’s war dead that is seen in China and Korea as a symbol of the atrocities committed by Japan in the Second World War. The contest over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, purchased by the Japanese government from a private owner last month, has disrupted trade ties between the two economies worth US$340 billion and sparked widespread protests in China.