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China to hold drills near disputed islands

3 July 2016 12:02

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The Chinese military is set to hold exercises near disputed islands in the South China Sea, as tensions seem to rise between Beijing and the Philippines over a complaint filed by the latter at an international court over territorial disputes.

China said it will start the drills around the disputed Paracel Islands on July 5 and will continue them until July 11. The exercises will cover an area from the east of China’s Hainan Island down to and including the Paracels.

Other ships are prohibited from entering those waters during that time, Beijing said, without further elaboration.

The Paracels are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

The United States claims that China has built a runway on Woody Island, the site of the largest Chinese presence on the Paracels, and placed surface-to-air missiles there.

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