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US condemns China’s firing of missiles in East Sea

The US Department of Defence has voiced concern about China’s recent decision to conduct military exercises, including the firing of ballistic missiles around Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (internationally known as Paracel) Archipelago in the East Sea.

In a recent statement, the department said that conducting military exercises in the waters, also known as the South China Sea, is counterproductive to easing tensions and maintaining stability.

China’s actions, including missile tests, further destabilise the situation in the waters. Such exercises also violate China’s commitments under the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) to avoid activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, it said.

The department stated that the military exercise taking place from August 23-29 is the latest in a long string of China’s actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbours in the East Sea.

The department alerted China in July that the US would continue to monitor the situation with the expectation that China will reduce its militarisation and coercion of its neighbours in the East Sea. But China chose to escalate its exercise activities by firing ballistic missiles.

Earlier, the US blacklisted 24 Chinese companies for helping the Chinese military construct and militarise the internationally condemned artificial islands in the East Sea.