China has announced that it will hold a five-day military exercise in the South China Sea starting Friday as tensions in the region escalate. The exercise, which will include the establishment of a huge navigation restricted zone, comes as the US and other countries in the region put pressure on Beijing through large-scale military exercises.
The announcement comes just days after India announced it would deploy a task force of four warships to Southeast Asia, the South China Sea and the Western Pacific. The Indian ships are scheduled to participate in the next edition of the Quad’s Malabar exercise (India, Japan, Australia and the United States), and also participate in bilateral exercises with Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.
According to the Chinese state media Global Times, the Chinese military exercise will serve as a response to the recent provocations and show that China is “holding hunting rifles against the wolves” that are starving for China’s core interests. China will hold military training in the South China Sea from Friday to Tuesday, and other ships will be banned from entering the restricted navigation zone, according to a statement from the Maritime Safety Administration on Wednesday.
The announcement did not provide any further details about the exercise, but a Taipei-based news agency reported that the PLA launched anti-ship ballistic missiles in a similar exercise in the South China Sea last year. Last year’s exercise, conducted August 24-29, also included a restricted navigation zone in almost the same location and of a similar size as announced by the Maritime Safety Administration.
The Indo-Pacific region is widely viewed as an area that encompasses the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific, including the South China Sea. China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to penetrate the Indian Ocean have challenged the established rules-based system.
It claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and overlaps territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. China has been stepping up its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea in recent months, in part in response to Beijing’s concerns about the increasing US military presence in the region due to escalating Sino-US tensions. (ANI)
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)