China conducts ‘combat patrols’ as US holds drills with allies in disputed waters

SpaceWar.com reports: “China conducted ‘combat patrols’ Sunday in the South China Sea, its army said, the same day the Philippines, the United States, Japan and Australia held their first joint drills in the disputed waters.

The maritime activities took place days before US President Joe Biden was due to hold the first trilateral summit with the leaders of the Philippines and Japan, with growing tensions over the hotly contested South China Sea on the agenda.

Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command said it was organising ‘joint naval and air combat patrols in the South China Sea’.

‘All military activities that mess up the situation in the South China Sea and create hotspots are under control,’ it said in a statement, in an apparent swipe at the other drills being held in the waters.

The Philippine military said its drills with the United States, Australia and Japan ‘demonstrated the participating countries’ commitment to strengthen regional and international cooperation in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific through interoperability exercises in the maritime domain.’

Dubbed the ‘Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity’, the drills included naval and air force units from all four countries…”

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