China Prepares for Military Drills Near Vietnam Coast

China will carry out military drills for a week in the South China Sea, in the area along its southern province of Hainan and Vietnam, the government announced while warning ships to avoid the area.

The Hainan Maritime Safety Administration said the drills would start on Friday, the day of its announcement, and will last until March 15. “Entering prohibited,” it said on its website.

The announcement’s coordinates show an area somewhere between Hainan’s Sanya and the Vietnamese city of Hue.

Part of the area is within Vietnam’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Vietnam has been criticizing China for its infringement on its sovereign territory by claiming areas of the South China Sea that are within its EEZ.

Earlier this week, the administration announced that it will carry out military drills in various areas of the South China Sea from Feb. 27 to March 1.

Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have competing claims against China for several areas in the waters.

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