May 4, 2016 / 11:02 AM / a year ago

China to carry out more military drills in South China Sea

2 Min Read

The northwest side of Mischief Reef showing a 1,900 foot seawall and newly-constructed infrastructure including housing, an artificial turf parade grounds, cement plants, and docking facilities are shown in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative January 8, 2016 satellite image released to Reuters on January 15, 2016.CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout via Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's military will carry out more military exercises in the South China Sea this month involving advanced warships and submarines, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday, terming the drills routine.

China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

Xinhua said the ships, including a new guided missile destroyed, would take part in anti-submarine, anti-missile and other exercises.

It did not say exactly where the drills would take place, but noted they were routine and had been planned for this year.

China periodically announces such exercises in the South China Sea as it tries to demonstrate it is being transparent about its military deployments.

China has been at odds with the United States of late over the strategic waterway.

Washington has criticized Beijing's building of artificial islands in the South China Sea's disputed Spratly archipelago, and has conducted sea and air patrols near them.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel

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