China, Russia plan new military drills amid maritime disputes

China will hold joint military exercises with Russia in the South China Sea in September, following a recent international court ruling against Beijing in a territorial dispute with Manila.

China's Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters Thursday the air and sea drills were aimed at deepening relations between the two militaries and improving their forces' ability to respond to threats.

Yang added that the drills were not targeted at any other countries.

The move is consistent with experts' warnings that Beijing could increase its military presence in the South China Sea in a show of defiance of the court ruling made two weeks ago.

An arbitration tribunal set up in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea upheld a complaint by the Philippines about contested islets in the South China Sea, which holds key shipping lanes and is believed to be rich in mineral and marine resources.

The court, based in The Hague, ruled that the Philippines has exclusive rights to the territories it claims in the sea, because "those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China."

China refused to take part in the arbitration, and rejected the verdict.

Apart from China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

Last update: Thu, 28/07/2016 - 12:23

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