There's fuller coverage on CNN
The drills were the latest the People's Liberation Army -- the world's biggest military with 2.5 million men and officers -- has held with forces from other countries, including France in March and Pakistan and India last year.
The exercises were the first between the two countries since Britain switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing 50 years ago, China's Xinhua news agency quoted a Defence Ministry spokesman as saying.
In another first, Beijing-based military attaches from 15 countries were invited to observe the exercises, involving the Exeter and the British replenishment ship RFA Grey, off Qingdao city. [Ex-German treaty port in East China, where Tsingtao beer comes from.]
The British vessels and China's guided missile destroyer Harbin and replenishment ship Hongze Lake conducted search and rescue operations as well as helicopter manoeuvres, Xinhua said.
The Exeter will conduct similar exercises in Japan and Russia.
China and France held naval exercises in March.
China held naval exercises with Pakistan last October -- its first ever with a foreign country.
Not coincidentally. the UK's PM Blair and France's President Chirac are both reported to be in favour of dropping the EU embargo on sales of weapons to China, which dates back to the massacre in 1989.
China Daily also has a report on this, remarking, oddly:
"It is the first Sino-British maritime exercise in the non-traditional security field"
If anyone knows what they meant by that, I'd be happy to hear.