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Rediff.com  » News » Beijing announces naval drills amid South China Sea tensions

Beijing announces naval drills amid South China Sea tensions

November 23, 2011 21:21 IST
Striking a combative posture amid deepening row over the South China Sea, China on Wednesday announced naval exercises in the Western Pacific asserting that its lawful rights including navigation should not be hindered.

The People's Liberation Army naval fleet will go for routine training in the Western Pacific in late November, the Chinese Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The annual regular training is in accordance with relevant international laws and practice, and not directed toward any particular country or goal, the statement said.

China's lawful rights, including free navigation in relevant waters, should not be hindered, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

South China Sea, the scene of dispute between China and number of its neighbours following Beijing's claims that entire sea belongs to it, is regarded as the arm of the Western Pacific bordering the South East Asian mainland.

Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia contested China's claims, specially a host of small islands reportedly plush with oil and gas resources.

The South China Sea dispute figured prominently in the just concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations and East Asian Summits in Bali where China asserted that the disputes should be resolved bilaterally by parties involved and asked outside forces, especially United States to stay out of the dispute.

The issue also figured in the talks between Prime Minister Mamohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao at Bali last week.

China in the recent past objected to ONGC Videsh undertaking oil exploration in two blocks claimed by Vietnam in the region, which India rejected asserting that it is a purely commercial deal and the disputes should resolved according to international law.

 

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