China Responds to U.S. Naval Exercises in South China Sea

China’s military said on Sunday that it had been patrolling the South China Sea by air and sea to ensure everything is under control, possibly in reaction to the U.S. and its friends holding naval drills.

The defense chiefs of the United States, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines said on Saturday that they would work together in the sea to protect the rules and rights for ships and planes to move through the area.

There have been long-standing arguments between China and some Southeast Asian countries over who owns parts of the South China Sea, which is a very busy place for ships. Disputes, especially with the Philippines, have been getting more serious since last year.

The U.S. has been doing patrols with the Philippines to show support. But China thinks the U.S. is making things worse by getting involved in these fights. China’s military in the South said it has been doing patrols and keeping everything in check in the South China Sea, without mentioning the U.S. or the joint drills.

The U.S. and its friends didn’t mention China in their statement either, but they all agreed that a ruling from 2016 that said China’s claims in the South China Sea were too big and not allowed, is final and must be followed.

This tension in the area is likely to be a big topic when President Joe Biden meets with leaders from Japan and the Philippines at the White House this week.

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