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Chinese military to hold drills amid South China Sea tensions

Army troops from the five theatre commands of the PLA will take part in the drill from July to September

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

South China Sea
In this photo taken March 29, 2014, Philippine crewmen gesture towards a Chinese Coast Guard ship as they block them from entering Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. Photo: AP/PTI

Chinese military has announced three-month-long exercises simulating real battle scenarios, amid South China Sea tensions over international tribunal's verdict that dismissed Beijing's claims.

Army troops from the five theatre commands of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will take part in a drill from July to September designed to "strengthen the troops' trans-regional operational capabilities."

It is one of the key maneuvers after the establishment of the PLA's new Army command, said a statement issued on Thursday by the Zhurihe training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where the drill will be held.

The five theater commands will each send a mixed army brigade that will separately confront the PLA army's first professional simulation troop posing as the enemy, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

The PLA Air Force and Strategic Support Force will also take part in the drill that will help reshape the Army's training system and strengthen its capacity to operate throughout the Chinese territory, the statement said.

The drills were announced as the tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration has struck down China's historic claims over the SCS and upheld the Philippines sovereignty over the area.

First Published: Thu, July 14 2016. 20:07 IST