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South China Sea

ASEAN troops launch maritime drills amid South China Sea tension

First-ever joint military exercises underscore bloc's unity over disputed waters

Indonesian troops in front of a domestic warship taking part in the ASEAN military drills in Batam (Photo by Ismi Damayanti)

BATAM, Indonesia -- Troops from across Southeast Asia launched their first joint maritime exercises in Indonesia on Tuesday as tensions soar over Beijing's claim to the South China Sea.

ASEAN has previously conducted drills with the U.S. and other partner countries, but this week's exercises mark a first for the 10-country bloc.

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