The exercises, inside a 100,000-square-kilometer zone around the disputed Paracel Islands, come ahead of a ruling expected next week by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague over a long-standing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
The court will rule on whether the Philippines has the right to exploit waters also claimed by China.
A ruling could cast into doubt China’s vast claims in the region, through which about 30 percent of world trade goes through. But Beijing has refused to recognize the court’s authority.
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