China Announces South China Sea Military Exercises

MILCOM — BEIJING — China said Monday that it is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week, days after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing’s claim to ownership of virtually the entire strategic waterway.

Hainan’s maritime administration said an area southeast of the island province would be closed from Monday to Thursday, but gave no details about the nature of the exercises. The navy and Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

Six governments claim territory in the South China Sea, although the area where the Chinese naval exercises are being held is not considered a particular hotspot. China’s navy and coast guard operate extensively throughout the South China Sea and regularly stage live firing exercises in the area.

The announcement of the military exercises came in the middle of a three-day visit to China by the U.S. Navy’s top admiral to discuss the South China Sea dispute and ways to increase interactions between the two militaries.

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