Duterte not excited ahead of S. China Sea ruling today
CHINA ended its largest live-firing drill ever held in the South China Sea last evening, which was apparently to show its defiance against the passing of an international ruling today, widely expected to favour the Philippines and possibly weaken its territorial claims in the waterway.
Pictures of the seven-day drill, which involved some of China's most advanced war planes and ships, were made freely available to any media, especially images on missile-firings at sea, Sina, China's biggest news portal, pointed out.
China's Global Times also emphasised that four top generals participated in the drill, which was taken to an "operational" level.
Meanwhile, the official Xinhua news agency quoted William Jones of the Executive Intelligence Review, a United States publication, as saying that the US is using the arbitration as a way to check Chinese control of the South China Sea and strengthen its allies, such as the Philippines.
China has neither participated in the arbitration nor would it accept its verdict - a stance Mr Jones said Beijing has "legitimate reasons" to take according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The five-member Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will today announce its verdict on the case lodged by the Philippines in 2013, which challenges the so-called nine-dash line that China uses to claim virtually the entire South China Sea.
Meanwhile, the Philippines' new president Rodrigo Duterte shows no excitement about the ruling as he has made clear that he is inclined towards talking with the Chinese, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Besides, the case is not about adjudicating on sovereignty but on deciding the legitimate basis of China's claims.
But the wild card could be the US, which has ramped up its military presence in the region and could seek to marshal world opinion to pressure Beijing into complying with the verdict, reported the Associated Press.