BEIJING — China says its navy visited its southernmost territorial claim during military drills in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine West).
The visit to James Shoal followed exercises that began Saturday marking a high-profile show of China’s determination to stake its claim to territory in an area that is disputed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
The official People’s Daily online said Wednesday that one destroyer, two frigates and an amphibious landing ship took part in the drills around Chinese-controlled outcroppings. They involved hovercraft, ship-born helicopters, amphibious tanks, and land-based fighters and bombers, and were followed by a ceremonial visit Tuesday to James Shoal farther south.
The area is surrounded by shipping lanes and rich fishing grounds claimed in whole or in part by neighboring countries.