China has started five military exercises simultaneously along different parts of its coast, the second time in two months it will have such simultaneous exercises amid growing regional tensions.
A Reuters news agency report released on Monday said two of the exercises were taking place near the Paracel Islands in the disputed South China Sea, one in the East China Sea and one further north in the Bohai Sea, the Maritime Safety Administration said in notices on its website.
In the southern part of the Yellow Sea, exercises including live-fire exercises will be held Monday through Wednesday, he said in another notice, adding that all ships are prohibited from entering the sea.
In an effort to build a combat-ready army, China periodically conducts such exercises, although multiple exercises taking place at the same time are rare.
According to Chinese military experts, in a rare arrangement, four separate exercises were announced last month.
In response, the United States sent spy planes to a no-fly zone over Chinese live-fire military exercises as China filed “harsh representations” to Washington.
China and the United States recently disagreed over a range of issues ranging from Taiwan and the coronavirus pandemic to trade and human rights.
On Sunday, a US State Department statement said China had “pursued reckless and provocative militarization” of contested outposts in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, adding that the ruling Communist Party in China ” did not honor his words or his commitments ”.
The US military actions have made it “the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the South China Sea.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in response on Monday.
China has also carried out frequent military activities near Taiwan, saying the exercises were directed towards the island that Beijing considers part of its territory.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that China had threatened or entered its airspace 46 times in the past nine days.
Earlier this month, an Indonesian patrol boat clashed with a Chinese Coast Guard vessel that spent nearly three days in waters that Indonesia claims to be an exclusive economic zone and lies near the southernmost part of the South China Sea.
The Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam have also engaged in retaliation against Chinese claims and actions in the region, as talks progress between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China on the South China Sea appear to be at a standstill.