China begins South China Sea military training exercises


BEIJING (AP) — China began two days of military training in the South China Sea yesterday, as its Defence Minister warned that China’s armed forces would “resolutely take action” to defend Beijing’s claims over the area.

The China Maritime Safety Administration announced the drills were held all day yesterday and for half a day tomorrow in an area near China’s holdings in the Paracel island group.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea as its own territory and strongly objects to naval activity in the area by other nations.

Another five governments exercise overlapping claims, particularly in the Spratly islands to the east.

The waterway rich in fishing grounds through which passes an estimated USD5 trillion in global commerce annually has become a global security hotspot, largely due to growing Chinese assertiveness in pressing its claims.