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China's another aggressive move on the Bien Dong Sea
China has begun five military exercises simultaneously along different parts of its coast, the second time in two months it will have such concurrent drills against a backdrop of rising regional tensions.
A Reuters news agency report on Monday said two of the exercises are being held near the HOang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the disputed South China Sea, one in the East China Sea, and one further north in the Bohai Sea, the Maritime Safety Administration said in notices on its website.
According to Straits Times, last month, China announced four separate exercises, from the Bohai Sea to the East and Yellow Seas and down to the disputed South China Sea, in what Chinese military experts said was a rare arrangement of drills. The four separate exercises were announced last month, a rare arrangement, according to Chinese military experts.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Monday said US military actions have made it “the biggest threat to the peace and stability of the South China Sea”. China has also held frequent military activities near Taiwan, declaring that the drills were directed at the island Beijing considers part of its territory.
|Photo: Straits Times|
Vietnam' response to China's move
Among China's actions, drills on the Paracel Islands from August 24 to 29 received Vietnam's protests.
Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said on August 26 that China repeatedly performing drills in the area of the Hoang Sa (Paracels) "violates Vietnam's sovereignty over the islands, goes against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and is not conducive for negotiations related to the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC), as well as the maintenance of peace, stability, and cooperation across the waters."
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: thanhnien|
Vietnam has repeatedly asserted its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands in the Bien Dong Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea.
All actions regarding the islands without Vietnam's agreement are illegal, Hang has said.
Beside Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have also engaged in a pushback against Chinese claims and actions in the area, while progress in talks between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China over the South China Sea appear to be at a standstill.
Earlier this month, an Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coastguard vessel that spent almost three days in waters Indonesia claims as an exclusive economic zone and are near the southernmost part of the South China Sea.
On Sunday, a US state department statement said China has “pursued a reckless and provocative militarisation” of disputed outposts in the South China Sea’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, adding that China’s governing Communist Party “does not honour its words or commitments”.
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