China to use drones to monitor territorial claims
BEIJING (AP) - China says it will use unmanned drones to conduct marine surveillance as it tries to increase its presence around uninhabited East China Sea islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.
Mr Li Mousheng, a spokesman for the State Oceanic Administration, says the decision follows a successful pilot program conducted on Sunday. The announcement comes as China seeks to have a greater presence around the islands, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
Mr Li cited state media reports saying China aims to have drones and monitoring bases in place by 2015, but didn't say when they'd be deployed around the islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
China responded furiously this month to the Japanese government's purchase of the islands from their private owners.