Ben Blanchard, REUTERS
4 May 2016
BEIJING – China’s military will carry out more military exercises in the South China Sea this month involving advanced warships and submarines, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday, terming the drills routine.
China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion (£3.45 trillion) of maritime trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims.
Xinhua said the ships, including a new guided missile destroyed, would take part in anti-submarine, anti-missile and other exercises.
It did not say exactly where the drills would take place, but noted they were routine and had been planned for this year.
China periodically announces such exercises in the South China Sea as it tries to demonstrate it is being transparent about its military deployments.
China has been at odds with the United States of late over the strategic waterway.
Washington has criticised Beijing’s building of artificial islands in the South China Sea’s disputed Spratly archipelago, and has conducted sea and air patrols near them.