Beijing starts military exercise in disputed South China Sea as tensions with Vietnam rise

Three-day training drill near Paracels starts on Tuesday as Hanoi faces pressure at home over Vanguard Bank stand-off

Laura Zhou

Laura Zhou  Published: 8:15pm, 15 Aug, 2019 SCMP

Chinese vessels during a previous military exercise near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: AFP
Chinese vessels during a previous military exercise near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: AFP

China started a series of military training exercises near the Paracel chain of islands in the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday, amid growing tensions with Vietnam over the vital maritime trade route.

Ships were prohibited from entering three locations in and near the Paracels from Tuesday morning until Thursday afternoon, according to three brief notices published on the Maritime Safety Administration website on Monday. No details were given of the purpose of the training, nor which military units would be involved.

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