Fri, 17 Sep 2021

Beijing [China], July 26 (ANI): China on Monday announced that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will conduct an exercise in the disputed South China Sea.

The training maneuver will be held in the waters between Guangdong's Shangchuan Island and the South China Sea on July 27 at 6:00 p.m (local time) and will last until July 29 at 10:00 p.m (local time), reported Taiwan News.

It further reported that the PLAN previously carried out a six-day drill from July 17-21 in the East China Sea, off the coast of Zhejiang Province. The sequestered training area was only 243 kilometres away from Taiwan.

This comes after US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng on Monday.

In a meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Sherman raised concerns over human rights issues, including Beijing's anti-democratic crackdown in Hong Kong and the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang.

"Sherman reiterated concerns about the PRC's unwillingness to cooperate with the World Health Organisation and allow a second phase investigation in the PRC into COVID-19's origins," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Sherman also said that she had discussed issues important to the US with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng.

"I discussed issues important to the US with PRC Vice FM Xie, including the climate crisis, COVID-19, and our serious concerns about PRC actions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and across the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. and our allies and partners will always stand up for our values," Sherman wrote in a tweet.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.

Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)

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