Beijing has announced it will stage a naval exercise in the South China Sea, the latest in a series of drills held amid ongoing tensions with the US.
Saturday’s announcement came a day after it said it would stage a separate exercise in the Yellow Sea.
Hainan Maritime Safety Administration announced that the waters southeast of Hainan island would be sealed off for an exercise running from Monday until Saturday.
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The United States has also been conducting a series of exercises in the region and on Friday the USS Ronald Reagan and its carrier strike group returned to the South China Sea for a series of air defence exercises after a joint drill with Japan.
The US Navy also sent a destroyer, the USS Mustin, through the Taiwan Strait following the exercise with Japan in what America said was a demonstration of its commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
This week CNN also broadcast rare footage provided by the US Navy showing a reconnaissance plane flying over the South China Sea.
The PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command said on Wednesday that the military was on “high alert” to protect China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and monitor US activity.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese and Chinese media have reported that China has recently deployed fighter jets and at least one bomber to the disputed Paracel Islands.
China has stepped up the number of drills in the region in recent months.
On Friday, the PLA said it would stage an exercise off the cities of Qingdao and Lianyungang starting on Saturday and finishing on Wednesday. The exercise follows two live-fire drills in the East China Sea earlier this month.
The exercise follows the joint US-Japanese exercise involving the Ronald Reagan strike group, Japan’s Ikazuchi destroyers and two US B-1B bombers.
Shanghai based military expert Ni Lexiong said China wanted to send a strong signal to the US, adding: “We are also preparing ourselves for potential wars in the future.”
This article Chinese military plans another South China Sea drill first appeared on South China Morning Post