China: On Thursday, Beijing’s defense ministry made a statement saying China and Russia will hold joint naval exercises in the South China Sea in September. This comes in the wake of an international tribune’s decision on the issue of claims over the South China Sea.
Yang Yujun said, “The drills will be carried out in the ‘relevant sea and air of the South China sea’”. He is the spokesperson for the defense ministry. He made this statement during a monthly briefing.
The South China Sea has been the center of international diplomatic tensions and Washington’s constant efforts to enable free navigation in the area. This move could lead to vessels of several powerful militaries entering the area simultaneously.
China and Russia Joins
According to Yang, the drill is aimed at “consolidating and developing” China and Russia’s strategic partnership. He further added that the move will help ‘enhance capabilities of the two navies to jointly deal with maritime threats’.
In a related development, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague gave a decision on the South China Sea. It refuted Beijing’s claims on the South China Sea, saying it had ‘no legal basis’ to do so. In an effort to claim its control over the waters, China has also built a series of artificial rocks and reefs.
In fact, these are home to facilities that support military operations. Commenting on the drill, Yang said, “The two sides hold joint drills regularly”. He further added, “The drills contribute to peace and stability”.