Beijing to set up military garrison to guard disputed islands in South China SeaJul 23, 5:53 pm
London, July 23 (ANI): The Chinese defence ministry has said it will set up a military garrison on a bunch of islands in the South China Sea.is decision is expected to fuel more tensions with China's neighbouring countries.The army will operate from Sansha in the Paracel Islands, one of two archipelagos in the South China Sea, that are claimed by both China and Vietnam.The garrison, which has been approved by the Central Military Commission, will be responsible for the Sansha area national defence mobilisation and reserve forces activities', the defence ministry said on its website.The ministry did not mention when the garrison would be established, but the move to station troops on the Paracels is likely to provoke Hanoi.Beijing's move last month to assign Sansha as its administrative centre for the Paracels and the Spratly Islands prompted a rare demonstration on Sunday in the Vietnamese capital against China's territorial assertions.China and South Vietnam once administered different parts of the Paracels but after a brief conflict in 1974 Beijing took control of the entire group of islands. Vietnam holds several of the larger Spratly Islands, The Telegraph reports.In June, the state-backed China National Offshore Oil Corporation announced it was welcoming bids to explore oil blocks in the disputed waters, a week after Vietnam adopted a law placing the Spratlys under its sovereignty.A July 13 meeting of the Association of Southeast Nations broke up without a joint statement for the first time in 45 years because members could not agree on how to refer to China's behaviour in the disputed waters.The countries are drafting a 'code of conduct' to try to end the rift. (ANI)
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