South China Sea

Beijing Holds South China Sea Military Training Exercises

South China Sea

(Picture: US Army).

China has closed off an area of the South China Sea this week for military training.

The China Maritime Safety Administration says drills are being held all day on Sunday and half a day on Tuesday in an area near China's holdings in the Paracel island group.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea as its own territory and strongly objects to naval activity in the area by other nations.

Another five governments exercise overlapping claims, particularly in the Spratly islands to the east.

USS McCampbell
The US Navy was criticised by China for "provocation" after USS McCampbell sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea in January (Picture: US Navy).

The waterway sees an estimated five trillion US dollars (£4 billion) pass through in global commerce annually and has become a global security hotspot, largely due to growing Chinese assertiveness in pressing its claims.

China has built man-made islands to expand its footprint.

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