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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

China naval drill in South China Sea: state media

August 1, 2010

By Allison Jackson
AFP
July 31, 2010

BEIJING -- China this week staged a large naval
and air exercise on its southeast coast, as South
Korea and the United States conducted their own
naval drill opposed by Beijing, state media said Friday.

News of Monday's live-fire exercises in the South
China Sea came as a defence ministry spokesman
reiterated that China's territorial claims in the
contentious waters were "indisputable" and should not be "internationalised".

Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
said the resolution of territorial disputes was
"pivotal" for regional stability and that
Washington had a "national interest" in seeing
international law respected in the area.

During the South China Sea exercise, a large
group of submarines and warships from the
People's Liberation Army Navy fired guided
missiles and tested anti-missile air defence
systems, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Navy aircraft also conducted "air control operations", Xinhua said.

Artillery forces also staged an exercise on
China's east coast this week, earlier reports said.

It was not immediately clear if the two Chinese
exercises were pre-planned or a response to the
four-day joint naval and air drill by the United
States and South Korea, which ended Wednesday.

The US-South Korean exercise was conducted as a
warning to North Korea -- China's ally --
following the sinking of a South Korean warship
blamed by Seoul and its allies on a North Korean submarine.

China is North Korea's closest ally and trade
partner and has refused to join in international
condemnation of Pyongyang for the incident.

Beijing had expressed concern about the July
25-28 drill, which was initially supposed to be
held in the Yellow Sea separating China and the
Korean peninsula but was later relocated to the
Sea of Japan after Beijing's protests.

China has warned against further actions that it
says could raise tensions in the region.

Last week, Clinton told an Asia-Pacific security
forum in Vietnam that the United States had an
interest in "freedom of navigation, open access
to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for
international law in the South China Sea".

"We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant," she said.

Beijing's territorial claims over potentially
resource-rich archipelagos in the South China Sea
conflict with those of some members of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

US commanders have made it clear they are
watching China's military build-up, particularly
its naval reach into the South China Sea.

On Friday, defence ministry spokesman Geng
Yangsheng again hit out at Clinton's comments,
saying any territorial disputes would be resolved
with the relevant countries alone, through dialogue and negotiations.

Geng, quoted by Xinhua news agency, added that
Beijing would respect the freedom of ships and
aircraft from "relevant countries" crossing the
South China Sea in accordance with international laws.
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