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According to the PLA Daily, the Chinese military’s official newspaper, the state navy completed drills on Friday that engaged “live missiles” in the area between the The vessels from the country’s northern, eastern and southern fleets took part in the exercises, the Defense Ministry reported.
“The drill focused on air control operations, sea battles and anti-submarine warfare,” the website of China’s Ministry of Defense states.
Despite media speculations suggesting the maneuvers were undertaken in the wake of a ruling by The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), expected to be ordered on July 12, the PLA called the event “routine exercises.”
China has warned all the provocateurs from facilitating the tensions, saying Beijing won’t take a “single step back” in the conflict and expressed readiness to strike back if the situation deteriorated.
The Chinese military has at its disposal HQ-9 SAMs and ASCMs missiles stationed in the Spratly Islands. Beijing could also turn artificial islands it had constructed on the coral reefs in the South China Sea into military bases, installing missile systems there, experts suggest.