China is holding military exercises in the long-disputed South China Sea.
According to the Maritime Safety Administration office in Hainan, the drills began on Thursday and will continue through the beginning of next week.
Chinese media said the country also flew a pair of long-range nuclear-capable H-6 bombers through the area on Wednesday.
China claims essentially the entirety of the South China Sea, although Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan also make similar claims.
In addition, since the beginning of the month, the Chinese navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier has been conducting a mission in the Sea of Japan.
Earlier this month, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into its waters amidst rising global tensions.
The Defense Ministry said that the mission in the Sea of Japan is “routine training” and that it is “in-line with relevant international law and international practice, and not targeting any party.”
These drills come as President Biden is visiting South Korea and Japan and members of the “Quad.”
The Quad is comprised of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan, with the goal of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.
Biden is also meeting with South Korea’s newly-elected President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul on Friday.
Earlier this week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the U.S. is preparing for North Korea to conduct a “long-range missile test, a nuclear test, or both around the president’s visit to the region.
The trip will end in Japan next week.
According to the Nikkei newspaper, the U.S. and Japan are reportedly preparing a statement promising the countries will team up to “deter” China.
Speaking with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized what he called negative moves by the countries against China.
“What arouses attention and vigilance is the fact that, even before the American leader has set out for the meeting, the so-called joint Japan-U.S. anti-China rhetoric is already kicking up dust,” he said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
Story cited here.
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