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China, Russia to stage military drills in South China Sea

China and Russia were to start war games in the South China Sea.
•    The eight-day joint exercises will include a focus on "seizing and controlling" islands and shoals, Chinese navy spokesman Liang Yang said in a statement.
•    They will involve surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters, Marine Corps and amphibious armored equipment from both navies, he said.
•    China claims almost all of the South China Sea and has sought to bolster its case by building a series of artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities.
•    But a UN-backed tribunal ruled in July that any extensive claims to the sea had no legal basis and that China's construction of artificial islands in disputed waters was illegal.
•    This week's drills will be carried out off the coast of Zhanjiang city in the southern province of Guangdong.
•    Their precise location was not announced, but they do not appear to be taking place in disputed parts of the sea.


 

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