Pentagon criticizes Chinese armed service drills in disputed South China Sea – Reuters Africa

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WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Friday turned down criticism by the U.S. Protection Division of its strategy to maintain armed forces routines in the South China Sea, and suggested that Washington was to blame for greater tensions in the region.

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FILE Image: The Pentagon symbol is observed driving the podium in the briefing home at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photograph

The Pentagon mentioned in a statement on Thursday that conducting navy workouts about disputed territory in the South China Sea was “counter-successful to efforts at easing tensions and keeping stability”.

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China declared very last 7 days it had scheduled five times of drills setting up July 1 near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both equally Vietnam and China.

“The military exercise routines are the most current in a lengthy string of PRC steps to assert illegal maritime promises and downside its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea,” the Pentagon statement mentioned, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

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Vietnam and the Philippines have also criticized the planned Chinese drills, warning it could build rigidity in the region and effects Beijing’s relationship with its neighbors.

Philippine International Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin warned China on Friday “it will be achieved with the severest reaction, diplomatic and regardless of what else is appropriate” need to the physical exercises spill more than to Philippine territory.

“To be absolutely sure, China is just as entitled, as any other electric power, to invoke flexibility of navigation in its military exercise routines. But that freedom, it bears reminding, calls for a straight and uninterrupted voyage,” Locsin explained.

Chinese international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, asked about the Pentagon’s feedback through a everyday briefing in Beijing, explained the military services physical exercises are in just the scope of China’s sovereignty and said that particular “non-regional countries” conducting military workouts in the South China Sea are impacting the region’s steadiness.

Zhao did not title any nations, but the United States has conducted many independence of navigation functions by sending its warships through the location to assert the freedom of entry to global waterways.

The United States accuses China of militarizing the South China Sea and attempting to intimidate Asian neighbors who may want to exploit its intensive oil and gasoline reserves.

China claims ninety% of the potentially power-prosperous South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay declare to elements of it, via which about $3 trillion of trade passes every yr.

Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing Enhancing by Daniel Wallis, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Kim Coghill

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