China’s military plans seven days of exercises in the South China Sea from this week, adding to tensions ahead of a ruling by an international tribunal over disputed maritime claims in the area.
The drills, announced in a brief statement Sunday, will start on July 5 and end on July 11, the day before a tribunal in The Hague is expected to issue its ruling, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Beijing has repeatedly said it will ignore the verdict despite pressure from the US and its allies to comply.
US officials have warned that Beijing could respond to the ruling by expanding its recent island-building or declaring an air-defense zone in the area.
China’s Maritime Safety Administration, in announcing the exercises, gave geographic coordinates for the drills in an area running east of China’s Hainan Island down to and including the Paracel Islands.
“Entering prohibited,” it said in English.
The Paracels are controlled by China but also claimed by Vietnam.
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