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    Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force, Friday, April 21, 2017

    Beijing: South China Sea Drills Are Part of Normal Training for Military

    © AP Photo / Francis Malasig/Pool Photo
    Asia & Pacific
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    In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague handed down a verdict in a territorial dispute between China and Philippines in favor of Manila, however, Beijing rejected the ruling, claiming control over all gas and oil activity in the South Chinese Sea.

    "The South China Sea islands are Chinese territories," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said during a briefing on Monday, adding that the activity of the Chinese air forces into the area was "part of the normal training for the Chinese military", and that the US "sending its own warships and planes to the region… poses a danger to other countries".

    READ MORE: Vietnam Demands China Withdraw Alleged Military Equipment From S China Sea

    These words were a response to the concerns, Manila officially expressed earlier in the day. According to the Philippines' presidential spokesman Harry Roque,  the country had taken note of the reports on the Chinese bombers and expressed "serious concerns anew on its impact to efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region".

    The Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines has echoed these words, confirming a hard line on the South China Sea issue.

    "We reiterate our commitment to protect every single inch of our territory and areas which we have sovereign rights over," the statement of the department said.

    The Chinese Air Force announced in a statement last Saturday that their strategic bombers had landed and taken off from a few reefs and islands in the South China Sea as a part of massive air drills.

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has stated, that despite the favorable ruling his country had received over the disputed waterway from the court in The Hague, he would not like a confrontation between the countries, and is open to joint exploration and gas and oil production in these waters.

    READ MORE: Chinese Missile Systems in South China Sea Could Raise Risks of Conflict With US

    China has been constructing seven artificial islands, building numerous civilian facilities, and military facilities in the South China Sea, which is rich in oil and gas reserves and is a key maritime trade route. At present, various territories in the South China Sea are also disputed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.

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    Tags:
    South China Sea dispute, Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, China, Philippines
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