China to conduct military drills in South China Sea amid tensions with U.S.

BEIJING (Reuters) - China announced Tuesday it would conduct military exercises in the South China Sea this week, just days after Beijing resisted the entry of a US aircraft carrier group into the disputed waters.
A notice from the country's Maritime Safety Administration banned entry into part of the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin west of the Leizhou Peninsula in southwest China from Jan. 27-30, but gave no details of when the drilling would take place or in which Scope.
A US carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea on Saturday to promote "freedom of the seas," the US military said days after Joe Biden began serving as president.
The disputed waters have become another focal point in the increasingly difficult bilateral relations between Beijing and Washington. The US military has steadily expanded its activities there in recent years as China asserts its territorial claims in the area that is in conflict with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.
The announcement of the exercises in the Gulf of Tonkin, east of Vietnam, came when the Southeast Asian country opened an important Communist Party convention in Hanoi.
China complained Monday that the United States frequently sends planes and ships into the South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade flows every year to "flex its muscles," saying such measures are not conducive to peace and quiet Stability in the region.
(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; additional reporting by James Pearson in Hanoi; writing by Se Young Lee; editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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