China makes clear its plan to shut parts of South China Sea between July 19-21
Beijing, July 19: China on Monday (July 18) said in a statement that it would close a part of the South China Sea between Tuesday (July 19) and Thursday (July 21) for military exercises, EFE news reported.
The announcement came almost a week after The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled over the region's territorial disputes in favour of the Philippines.
Beijing's statement spelled out the details of the shut down but did not speak on the type of exercises of the reason behind the drills.
China's manouvres coincided with the visit of John Richardson, Chief of US Naval Operations, to China less than a week after the tribunal said China has no historical rights over the resources in many parts of the disputed region which it claims, the IANS reported.
Beijing rejected the ruling at once, saying it was "null and void" and inaugurated two airports in the disputed reefs in the South China Sea area. It also warned of setting up an air defence zone in the region, the IANS said.
The Philippines, however, reacted cautiously to the ruling of July 12 with its new president, Rodrigo Duterte, taking initiatives for bilateral talks on the matter, something Beijing had proposed.
The sovereignty of a number of islands on the resources-rich South China Sea are being contested by countries like Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan---besides China and the Philippines. The sea is also a busy route through which 30 per cent of the global trade si conducted.
[With agency inputs]