China launches military drills in South China Sea as Biden visits Asia

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China is holding military exercises in the long-disputed South China Sea.

According to the Maritime Security Administration office in Hainan, the drills began on Thursday and will continue until early next week.

Chinese media said the country also flew a pair of nuclear-capable H-6 long-range bombers to the region on Wednesday.

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China essentially claims the entire South China Sea, although Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan also make similar claims.

In addition, since the beginning of the month, the Chinese navy’s aircraft carrier Liaoning has been carrying out a mission in the Sea of ​​Japan.

In this photo released on December 31, 2021 by Xinhua News Agency, an undated photo shows a carrier-based J-15 fighter jet preparing to land on the Chinese Navy's Liaoning aircraft carrier during combat training on the high seas.
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In this photo released on December 31, 2021 by Xinhua News Agency, an undated photo shows a carrier-based J-15 fighter jet preparing to land on the Chinese Navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier during combat training on the high seas.
(Hu Shanmin/Xinhua via AP)

Earlier this month, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into its waters amid rising global tensions.

The Ministry of Defense said the Sea of ​​Japan mission was “routine training” and was “in accordance with relevant international law and international practice, and not targeted at any party.”

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These exercises come as President Biden is visiting South Korea and Japan and members of the “Quad”.

The Quad is made up of the United States, Australia, India and Japan, with the goal of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.

Biden is also meeting South Korea’s newly elected President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul on Friday.

President Biden arrives at Osan Air Base, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

President Biden arrives at Osan Air Base, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Earlier this week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States was preparing for North Korea to conduct a “long-range missile test, a nuclear test, or both around the president’s visit to the region”.

The trip will end in Japan next week.

According to the Nikkei newspaper, the United States and Japan are preparing a statement promising that the countries will team up to “deter” China.

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Speaking to Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized what he said were negative measures taken by countries against China.

“What arouses attention and vigilance is the fact that even before the American leader arrives at the meeting, the so-called joint Japanese-American rhetoric against China is already gathering dust,” he said. he said, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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