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China To Intensify South China Sea Drills

160803-O-WL395-0011 PEARL HARBOR (Aug. 03, 2016) Chinese navy replenishment ship Gaoyouhu (966) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera photo by Master Cpl. Mathieu Gaudreault)

China To Intensify South China Sea Drills

Total Views: 6940
April 23, 2023

By Jacob Gu (Bloomberg) China’s military plans to conduct at least five drills in various areas that include waters off its coast and in the South China Sea, amid simmering tensions with Taiwan and the US.

One of the announced military exercises will be held for three days in waters off the port city of Qingdao, home to a major naval base for the People’s Liberation Army, according to a statement by China’s Maritime Safety Administration Thursday. Unspecified “major military activities” were conducted in the same area from 9 a.m. till noon Tuesday.

The agency warned mariners against entering waters off the coast of Shandong province, an area that is the site of frequent military drills and well away from the territory of the US’s regional security partners. 

China has escalated military and aerospace activities off its coast in recent days amid simmering tensions with Taiwan and the US. Beijing similarly declared an area north of the democratically run island off limits Sunday because of what it said was the risk of falling debris from the launch of a weather satellite. 

Tensions over Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be part of China, are especially intense after President Tsai Ing-wen met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California earlier this month, prompting the Chinese military to conduct drills in the area. Beijing restricted flights and shipping around Taiwan in August as it held military exercises to protest a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Read more: US Lawmakers See ‘Maximum Danger’ After Staging a China War Game

The PLA will also hold drills starting 6 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Sunday in the South China Sea, according to a separate statement from the Maritime Safety Administration Wednesday. 

This comes before the biggest U.S.-Philippine military exercises, which run through next week —  part of the wider push from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to advance the longstanding alliance. The U.S. recently gained expanded access to Philippine military sites, and the two nations are planning joint patrols in the South China Sea, where Beijing and Manila have a territorial dispute.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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