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China & Russia Begin Joint Naval Drills In Disputed South China Sea

China & Russia Begin Joint Naval Drills In Disputed South China Sea

Beijing has announced that China and Russia will begin large scale naval drills on Monday in the disputed South China Sea.

The Chinese navy released a statement on Sunday saying that the “Joint Sea-2016” exercises, which are to be conducted in an area off China’s southeastern province of Guangdong, will feature ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft and ship-borne helicopters.

Press TV reports:

The two countries will carry out defense, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, as well as “island seizing” and other activities, the statement added.

Describing the exercises as “the largest operation ever” conducted jointly by the two countries, the Chinese Navy further stressed that the forces will participate in live-fire drills, island defense and landing operations.

The South China Sea is the subject of a territorial dispute between China and several regional countries.

In July, a Hague-based court of arbitration ruled that China’s claim of sovereignty over disputed areas in the sea or its resources had no legal basis. The case was filed by the Philippines, whose economic and sovereign rights, the court said, had been violated by Beijing.

China has dismissed the ruling, saying it does not recognize the tribunal’s arbitration in the dispute.

Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The contested waters are rich in oil and gas.

China and Russia have increased their military training cooperation in recent years. The two countries have been holding naval drills in the Pacific waters since 2012.