Beijing (AFP) Nov 3, 2010
China has staged live-fire war games in the South China Sea, state media reported Wednesday, amid concerns over Beijing's territorial disputes with neighbouring nations in the area.
The army's Marine Corps carried out the exercises on Tuesday, which involved at least 100 warships, submarines and aircraft, and included amphibious combat drills, the official Global Times reported.
More than 200 military students from 40 countries and regions observed the exercises and discussed them with commanding officers, it added.
The war games were intended to showcase a modern Chinese Marine Corps to the world, the report quoted an unnamed officer responsible for the drills as saying.
"This is basically a routine military exercise but it is also based on the current combat situation in the South China Sea," Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, was quoted as saying.
"It was not a special signal, but we chose that theatre to show our naval capacity and strength."
The defence ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Beijing has a number of territorial disputes in the South China Sea over potentially resource-rich islands.
It insists it has complete sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel islands there, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have competing claims.
In July, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- who paid a lightning visit to China last weekend -- called for multilateral talks on the dispute, a position that Beijing opposes.
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