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Beijing announces “combat patrols” in South China Sea on Sunday

Photo: Aaron Favila archives Associated Press China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near the coasts of several riparian countries.

France Media Agency in Beijing

10:29 p.m.

  • Asia

China announced it would conduct “combat patrols” on Sunday in the disputed South China Sea, where joint maneuvers by the Philippines, the United States, the Japan and Australia.

“On April 7, the Southern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army will conduct joint naval and air combat patrols in the South China Sea,” the military said in a statement.

“All military activities that disrupt the situation in the South China Sea and create hot spots are under control,” the statement added, in an apparent allusion to other countries' exercises in the same waters.

No details were provided on the nature and exact location of the Chinese maneuvers.

On Saturday, the Philippines, the United States, Japan and Australia announced that they would hold joint naval and air exercises in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone on Sunday.

The four countries had stressed, in a joint statement, that this will demonstrate the “collective commitment” of the allies “to strengthen regional and international cooperation in favor of a free and open Indo-Pacific region”.

A trilateral summit between US President Joe Biden, his Philippine counterpart Ferdinand Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is scheduled for April 11 at the White House.

The naval exercises and summit come after several skirmishes between Chinese and Filipino ships near atolls off the Philippines in recent months.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near the coasts of several neighboring countries, despite an international court ruling ruling against it in 2016.

Senior US officials have repeatedly affirmed America's “ironclad” commitment to defend the Philippines in the South China Sea in the event of an armed attack.

At the same time, the Philippines and Japan began talks on a defense pact that would allow both countries to deploy troops on each other's territories. Manila has already reached a similar agreement with Australia and the United States.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116