China to carry out more military drills in disputed South China Sea islands

The brief statement gave no other details, apart from prohibiting other ships from entering the area.

By: Reuters | Beijing | Published:October 26, 2016 3:55 pm
China, South CHina sea, South China sea dispute, China military drills, China SCS, China drills SCS FILE – In this undated file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential gas and oil reserves in the South China Sea. (Liu Rui/Xinhua via AP, File)

China will carry out military drills in the South China Sea all day on Thursday, the country’s maritime safety administration said on Wednesday, ordering all other shipping to stay away. China routinely holds drills in the disputed waterway, and the latest exercises come less than a week after a U.S. navy destroyer sailed near the Paracel Islands, prompting a warning from Chinese warships to leave the area.

The maritime administration gave coordinates for an area south of the Chinese island province of Hainan and northwest of the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, but controlled by China. The brief statement gave no other details, apart from prohibiting other ships from entering the area.

China’s Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China has a runway on Woody Island, its largest presence on the Paracels, and has placed surface-to-air missiles there, according to U.S. officials.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have rival claims in the South China Sea, but Beijing’s is the largest. It argues it can do what it wants on the islands it claims as they have been Chinese since ancient times.