China has announced plans to conduct a military drill in the South China Sea, just days before an international arbitration court prepares to deliver a ruling on China’s claims in the area.
The drills will be held from July 5 to July 11 near the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands) in the waters, according to China’s Maritime Safety Administration.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said last week that it would announce its ruling on the contentious case between China and the Philippines on July 12.
The court is widely expected to rule against China's claims.
The exercise is a routine one based on Chinese navy’s annual plan, Ifeng TV reported, citing an official from the Ministry of National Defence.
China has reiterated many times that it would neither take part in nor accept the case which has been “unilaterally initiated” by the Philippines.
Reuters, quoting China Daily, reports that China has offered the Philippines the opportunity to negotiate on the South China Sea if Manila ignores the court's ruling.