China to hold military drills in South China Sea ahead of Hague ruling in Philippines case

China's maritime safety administration says the military drills would be organised from July 5 to 11.

China plans to hold military drills around the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea after the international court's decision regarding the dispute between China and the Philippines.

Chinese claims in the disputed waters overlap those by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan and they carry out exercises in the South China Sea on a regular basis.

There is a scheduled hearing on July 12 by an arbitration court regarding the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea in the Dutch city of The Hague and this has created tension among both the countries ahead of the ruling.

China's maritime safety administration said in a statement that the military drills would be organised from July 5 to July 11. They also gave coordinates for the drills, covering an area from the east of China's Hainan Island down to and including the Paracels, which is also claimed by both Vietnam and Taiwan.

During the drills, other ships will not be allowed to enter waters in the disputed South China Sea.

According to US officials, China has built a runway on the Paracels and placed surface-to-air missiles on the Woody Island which is considered to have the largest Chinese presence on Paracels.

China says it is perfectly within its rights and claims the islands have been Chinese territory, since ancient times.

Every year about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes through the strategic waters of the South China Sea.