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China launches military drills on the eve of 'Quad' meeting

Beijing programs three days of maneuvers in South China Sea

Archived photo of Chinese Navy drills 

Archived photo of Chinese Navy drills  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia prepare to discuss China-related issues, the communist country launched a new round of military drills in the South China Sea, reports said Friday (March 12).

Beijing issued a ban on nautical traffic from Friday until Sunday (March 14) in an area in the disputed sea, mentioning that military maneuvers would take place in the area, the Liberty Times reported.

The announcement would be interpreted as directed against the U.S., the report said. Later Friday, President Joe Biden is expected to discuss a wide range of issues related to China with Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Over the past month, U.S. and French Navy vessels cruised through the South China Sea to emphasize freedom of navigation in the face of China’s aggressive claims over large swaths of the area. Germany also announced it would send navy ships in August.