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Beijing’s Maritime Safety Agency said drills were taking place in the Bohai Sea in the North East of the country last night between 10pm and 6am local time. It comes as President Xi Jinping inspected the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy-Marine Corps in Chaozhou on Tuesday as part of a trip to South China’s Guangdong Province.
During his visit, President Xi stressed China’s Marine Corps who protect the country’s maritime waters should focus on “war preparedness and combat capabilities as well as maintain a high level of readiness.”
The Chinese Communist Party leader also stressed to the Chinese troops to focus on “combat-oriented” and “force-on-force” training.
President Xi’s inspection, military analysts claim, will send a signal that China will “speed up its preparation for any potential military conflict” in several areas.
These areas include the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan, which Beijing claims as being part of China.
China, which has for years been locked in maritime disputes with other coastal states in the South China Sea, has in recent months held military exercises in disputed parts of the strategic waterway.
But Washington has accused China of attempting to build a “maritime empire” in the area.
State Councillor Wang Yi, The Chinese government’s top diplomat, said Beijing and members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) should work together to remove “external disruption” in the South China Sea.
Mr Yi, who was on a visit to Malaysia as part of a short Southeast Asian tour, did not elaborate but stressed during a press conference yesterday: “In our view, the future of the region should be determined by the people in the region.
“For East Asian countries, we have the right to achieve our own stability.
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“We also have the right to pursue independent foreign policy.”
However, his counterpart Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said disputes over the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully through regional dialogue.
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