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China and Russia to begin show of strength in the South China Sea from Monday

China and Russia will hold joint naval exercises in the South China Sea (SCS), sending a calibrated message to the United States and its allies that Beijing has a powerful partner in waters riven by rival territorial claims.

The show of strength will be showcased during the eight-day Navy drill in the South China Sea off southern China's Guangdong Province.

Analysts, however, say that the exercises are being held in a non-disputed area, and are therefore unlikely to stir up fresh tensions significantly.

An earlier news report run by Russia’s Tass news agency said that last month, Russia and China held consultations in the Guangdong Province over holding the exercise. “The two sides explored the site of the exercise and the related infrastructures," the report quoted the Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson as saying.

The exercises follow a spike in tensions after an arbitration court in The Hague rejected China’s claims in the SCS, and slammed it for causing environmental damage there. China has rejected the ruling in a

government white paper that was released in the aftermath of the Award.

The Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Liang Yang said that the drill, "Joint Sea-2016," will feature Navy surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters marine corps and amphibious armoured equipment from both navies. Most of the Chinese participants will come from the Nanhai Fleet under the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

The two sides will undertake defence, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, in addition to joint island seizing and other activities, the spokesperson observed.

He stressed that the Marine Corps, in particular, will carry out live-fire drills, sea crossing and island landing operations, and island defence and offense exercises among others.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 5:57:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/China-and-Russia-to-begin-show-of-strength-in-the-South-China-Sea-from-Monday/article14633175.ece

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