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Chinese military illegally conducts drills in Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago

March 05, 2021 | 12:04

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) sent navy, army and marine corps and air force troops to take part in a war game around Triton Island, in Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago of Vietnam.

world breaking news today march 2 china kicks off military drill in south sea World breaking news today (March 2): China kicks off military drill in South China Sea
countries urged to actively contribute maintaining peace stability in vietnams bien dong sea south china sea Countries urged to actively contribute to maintaining peace, stability in Vietnam's Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea)
vietnam calls for peace in south china sea bien dong sea Vietnam calls for peace in South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea)
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Chinese military illegally conducts drills in Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago. Photo: CCTV

The CCTV report showed several Type 726 “Wild Horse” air-cushioned landing craft sailing off a Type 071 amphibious transport dock and rushing onto a beach, each with a Type 96A main battle tank and fully armed marine corps soldiers on board.

A Type 052D guided-missile destroyer, a Type 054A guided-missile frigate and a support ship kept guard off the coast, while an Su-30MKK fighter and an H-6K bomber provided air cover.

The drills aim “to explore the tactics and methods of joint warfare”, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

In the scenario for the assault exercise, PLA marine corps troops landed from vessels and helicopters, then faced strong fire resistance before the army tank team sent vehicles forward and destroyed enemy bunkers.

The report did not specify the time of the exercise, but said that it was conducted in recent days. It was broadcast after the PLA kicked off a month-long military exercise in the South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea) on March 1, at a time when the United States has stepped up reconnaissance operations, according to South China Morning Post.

China’s military exercises in Hoang Sa violate Vietnam’s sovereignty

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Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: VNA

The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly affirmed that China’s military exercises in Hoang Sa violate Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, complicate the situation and run counter to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

The exercises are unfavorable for the current negotiations between China and ASEAN on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), as well as the maintenance of a peaceful, stable and cooperative environment in the South China Sea.

Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence affirming its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, the ministry said.

US reconnaissance aircraft flew 75 sorties in South China Sea in February

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The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. File photo: US Navy via Getty Images

According to monitoring data released by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing-based think tank, the US sent reconnaissance aircraft – including an MQ-4C maritime reconnaissance drone, an EP-3E spy plane and an RC-135U strategic reconnaissance aircraft – to the South China Sea last week. It also sent the USNS Impeccable ocean surveillance ship to the region.

It reported that US reconnaissance aircraft flew 75 sorties in the South China Sea in February.

France also sent an amphibious assault ship and a frigate in mid-February, and they are scheduled to transit the South China Sea twice, Paris-based navalnews.com reported on February 18.

According to the route plan in the navalnews.com report, the French warships are scheduled to sail through the Qiongzhou Strait, an inland sea of China between the Leizhou Peninsula and the island province of Hainan./.

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Rosy Huong