Russia, China to Hold Joint South China Sea Drills in September

© REUTERS / Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via Reuters/File PhotoAn aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Taiwanese military plane shows the view of Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, at the South China Sea, March 23, 2016
An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Taiwanese military plane shows the view of Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, at the South China Sea, March 23, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Russia and China will hold joint naval exercises in the highly-contested South China Sea.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – Russia and China will hold joint naval exercises in the South China Sea, the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Thursday.

"Based on the consensus reached by the parties, the Chinese and Russian navies will hold joint Sea Cooperation-2016 exercises in the South China Sea in September," Yang told a briefing, noting that the drills "are not aimed at third countries."

A highly-contested region through which roughly $5 trillion in international trade passes annually, most of the waterway is claimed by China, though there are overlapping claims by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.

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