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South China Sea

China shoots across US bow with South China Sea drills

Weeklong live-fire exercises follow tit-for-tat consulate closures

A still image of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea provided by the U.S. Navy in 2015.    © Reuters

BEIJING -- The Chinese military began live-fire drills in the South China Sea on Saturday in a challenge to U.S. freedom of navigation operations there, as the two powers trade shows of military and diplomatic force.

The drills, which will run through Aug. 2, are taking place off the Leizhou Peninsula in southern China, in the northwestern part of the South China Sea, according to the People's Liberation Army. This is not far from Vietnam, which is locked in a territorial dispute with Beijing over the Spratly Islands. China has warned civilian vessels not to enter the area.

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