Beijing announces South China Sea manoeuvres after Hague ruling

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Beijing, July 18 (IANS) Beijing on Monday announced military manoeuvres in the South China Sea, almost a week after The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled in favour of the Philippines over the region’s territorial disputes.

In a statement, China’s maritime administration said a part of the sea near the Chinese island of Hainan is going to be closed from Tuesday to Thursday for military exercises, EFE news reported.

The statement provided details of the closing but did not specify the type of exercises or the reason behind the drills.

The manoeuvres coincide with the visit to China of US Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson, less than a week after the court ruled that China has no historical rights over the resources in many parts of the disputed region that it claims.

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China, however, rejected the ruling, calling it “null and void”, and inaugurated two airports in the disputed reefs in the South China Sea and threatened to establish an air defence zone in the region.

Manila has reacted cautiously to the July 12 ruling with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte opening the door for bilateral talks on the matter, as China had proposed.

Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and the Philippines dispute the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea, an area believed to be rich in natural resources and through which 30 per cent of the world’s trade passes.



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