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China conducts army drills in South China Sea

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The United States, Japan, Australia and the Philippines will maintain their first joint naval workout routines, together with anti-submarine warfare coaching, in a present of power Sunday, April 7, 2024 within the South China Sea the place Beijing’s aggressive actions to claim its territorial claims have brought about alarm. File
| Photo Credit: AP

China carried out army “combat patrols” April 7 within the disputed South China Sea, its military stated, the identical day as joint drills by the Philippines, the United States, Japan and Australia.

The announcement comes at some point after defence chiefs from 4 nations together with the Philippines — which has been engaged in a number of contentious maritime disputes with Beijing just lately — stated they’d conduct joint drills on April 7 within the space.

Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command stated it was organising “joint naval and air combat patrols in the South China Sea”. “All military activities that mess up the situation in the South China Sea and create hotspots are under control,” it stated in a press release, in an obvious swipe on the different drills being held within the waters. Further particulars concerning the Chinese army actions within the waterway weren’t introduced.

Competing claims on South China sea

The workout routines happen days earlier than U.S. President Joe Biden is because of maintain the primary trilateral summit with the leaders of the Philippines and Japan. Top US officers have repeatedly declared the United States’ “ironclad” dedication to defending the Philippines towards an armed assault within the South China Sea — to the consternation of Beijing.

China claims territorial sovereignty over practically all the South China Sea and has been more and more assertive within the area lately.

China’s Coast Guard, on April 6, stated it had “handled” a state of affairs on Thursday at a disputed reef the place a number of ships from the Philippines have been engaged in “illegal” operations.

“Under the guise of ‘protecting fishing’, Philippine government ships have illegally violated and provoked, organised media to deliberately incite and mislead, continuing to undermine stability in the South China Sea,” spokesman Gan Yu stated. “We are telling the Philippines that any infringement tactics are in vain,” Mr. Gan stated, including that China would “regularly enforce the law in waters under (its) jurisdiction”.

Beijing has brushed apart competing territorial claims by a number of Southeast Asian nations within the South China Sea — an important route for world commerce — in addition to a global ruling that declared its stance baseless.

The drills carried out Sunday by the Philippines, United States, Japan and Australia are meant to “(ensure) that all countries are free to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated in a joint assertion.

Named the “Maritime Cooperative Activity”, the drills will embrace naval and air power models from all 4 nations, the joint assertion stated. There have been no particulars within the assertion on what the drills would exactly embrace.

The Japanese embassy in Manila stated in a press release that “anti-submarine warfare training” can be included within the drills. Last week, Australian warship HMAS Warramunga arrived on the Philippine island of Palawan, which faces the hotly contested waters.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos issued a strongly worded assertion on March 28, vowing the nation wouldn’t be “cowed into silence, submission, or subservience” by China. Talks between the Philippines and Japan for a defence pact that might enable the nations to deploy troops on one another’s territory have been “still ongoing”, a spokesman for the Philippine international affairs division informed reporters final week. Manila already has an analogous settlement with Australia and the United States.

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