The Guardian: South China Sea: Beijing begins military drills ahead of key territorial ruling
Destroyers and frigates understood to be taking part in exercises around Paracel Islands before international tribunal gives verdict on disputed seas
China has kicked off a week of military drills in the South China Sea ahead of a hotly anticipated and potentially destabilising court ruling on its territorial claims in the region.
CCTV, the country’s state broadcaster, said the manoeuvres were due to start at about 8am Beijing time on Tuesday.
At least two guided missile destroyers, the Shenyang and Ningbo, and one missile frigate, the Chaozhou, were reported to be among the vessels being deployed to the region, where China has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The exercises, inside a 100,000 square kilometre zone around the disputed Paracel Islands, come ahead of a ruling next week by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague over a long-standing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
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