Russia and China plan to conduct joint naval drills Monday through Sept. 19 in the South China Sea — the first time any country has done exercises there since Beijing’s claims to the sea were rejected two months ago. The drills will take place off southern China’s Guangdong Province — not near Beijing’s nine-dash line, which was rejected by the international tribune court in The Hague in July in a case by the Philippines over Beijing’s maritime claims.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have opposed China’s claims over the South China Sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his support to Beijing’s stand this month at the G20 summit in Hangzhou. The naval drills, announced in July, will feature navy surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters marine corps and amphibious armored equipment from both navy operations, Chinese navy representative Liang Yang said. READ MORE