South China Sea Disputes Continue

The US military “will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows” despite China’s recent announcement that ships are prohibited from entering a disputed area of the South China Sea while its military conducts drills there, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said Tuesday. China’s maritime safety administration announced Sunday the drills will take place from July 5-11 in an area that includes the disputed Paracel islands, Yahoo News reported. The exercise is scheduled to end just before an international arbitration court rules on a dispute between China and the Philippines over South China Sea claims. On Tuesday, the Chinese government tempered its message after a state-run newspaper saying the state should prepare for military confrontation in the area, Reuters reported. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said it will work with other nations to maintain peace and stability in the area. Despite the tension in that body of water, China is taking part in the US-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise near Hawaii.