China to hold drills ahead of court rul­ing

The Myanmar Times - - World -

CHINA will con­duct mil­i­tary drills in the dis­puted South China Sea, the gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day, ahead of an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal rul­ing over Bei­jing’s mar­itime claims in the re­source-rich area.

The drills will be held in wa­ters around the Para­cel Is­lands from July 5 to 11, with other ships pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing the wa­ters dur­ing that time, a short state­ment by the mar­itime safety ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

The mil­i­tary ex­er­cises come as an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal in The Hague pre­pares to rule on a case brought by the Philip­pines chal­leng­ing China’s claims in the strate­gic wa­ter­way.

Manila lodged the suit against Bei­jing in early 2013, say­ing that af­ter 17 years of ne­go­ti­a­tions it had ex­hausted all po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic av­enues to set­tle the dis­pute.

Bei­jing, which as­serts sovereignty over al­most all of the South China Sea de­spite ri­val claims from South­east Asian neigh­bours, in­sists that the Per­ma­nent Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion has no ju­ris­dic­tion over the is­sue and has boy­cotted pro­ceed­ings.

Bas­ing its claims on a vaguely de­fined “nine-dash” Chi­nese map dat­ing back to the 1940s, it has rapidly turned reefs into ar­ti­fi­cial is­lands ca­pa­ble of host­ing mil­i­tary planes.

Manila con­tends that the “ninedash” line has no ba­sis un­der in­ter­na­tional law and Bei­jing has no “his­toric” claim to the ocean.

Ten­sions in the South China Sea have alarmed other na­tions, and most no­tably the United States which has key treaties with many al­lies in the re­gion.

But Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said in a speech last week that China will never com­pro­mise on sovereignty, and that the coun­try was “not afraid of trou­ble”.

In a stab at the US, Mr Xi said, “We won’t show up at other peo­ple’s front doors to flex our mus­cles. That doesn’t show strength or scare any one.” –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.