As the arbitration court at the Hague prepares to hand down its ruling over the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea, China has announced that it will be holding exercises along the disputed waters.
With the date of the ruling drawing near, China reiterated once again that it has a policy of “not accepting and not participating” to the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines. The ruling is set to be announced on July 12.
Even with Secretary of State John Kerry warning China against putting up an ADIZ in the area, China Ministry of National Defense spokesman Colonel Wu Qian said that a country has sovereign rights to impose the zone. Moreover, he remarked, “It depends on whether China is facing security threats from the air, and the level of the threat.”
Meanwhile, China’s Maritime Safety Administration announced that drills will take place between July 5 to July 11. Not much was said about the exercises, only that the area will cover east of Hainan Island in China all the way towards Paracel Island, a territory China and Vietnam have been disputing over.
U.S. Secretary Defense Carter had repeatedly said that China’s aggressive actions will end up with the country building “a Great Wall of self-isolation.” In response, Wu Qian said, “If someone wants to smear China by accusing China of ‘self-isolation,’ they are doomed to fail.
“China’s friends are all over the world.”
Despite tensions between the two countries over South China Sea, China and U.S. warships and vessels have sailed together to Hawaii on its way to the large scale Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2016. According to Wu Qian, the PLA Navy 153 task group reached Hawaii last June 29. There, it will be joining in a host of activities including a coordination conference.
Meanwhile, according to a report from The Guardian, China has said that other ships will be prohibited from entering affected parts of the South China Sea while the exercises are taking place.
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