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China to hold military drill today in South China sea, ahead of US House Speaker’s visit

In January this year, US State Department had released a study on South China Sea claims challenging many of Beijing’s assertions in the strategically important region.

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Beijing [China]: Ahead of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun said that Beijing will hold military exercises in the South China sea from August 2-6.

Maritime entry during the drill will be prohibited, the Chinese envoy said citing Hainan Maritime Safety Administration. “According to Hainan Maritime Safety Administration, #China will hold MILITARY EXERCISES in the #SouthChinaSea from August 2-6. Entry will be prohibited,” he tweeted.

Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan today, as per reports. She is going to Taiwan with scheduled meetings with government officials at the self-governed island that China threatens to forcefully overtake.

On Monday, China reiterated that it is keeping a close watch on the reports of Pelosi’s planned visit and warned of a resolute response and strong countermeasure if she insists on going ahead with the visit to Taipei.

Meanwhile, the White House said that Pelosi has the right to visit Taiwan. “If she goes it’s not without precedent, it’s not new,” US National Security Council coordinator John Kirby on Monday.

The Taiwanese official added that she is expected to stay in Taiwan overnight. It is unclear when exactly Pelosi will land in Taipei. The US official added that Defense Department officials are working around the clock on monitoring any Chinese movements in the region and securing a plan to keep her safe.

Back in April, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan had been postponed after she tested positive for COVID-19. At that time, Beijing had resolutely opposed any official exchange between the United States and Taiwan and stressed that the US should abide. China claims almost all of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory. In January this year, US State Department had released a study on South China Sea claims challenging many of Beijing’s assertions in the strategically important region. Even the water bodies were encroached upon during the heydays of militancy and they suffered much degradation due to heavy pollution load, in the absence of proper governance.

The Department’s Limits in the Seas studies are a longstanding legal and technical series that examine national maritime claims and boundaries and assess their consistency with international law, according to the US State Department Press Release.

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