China begins patrolling in disputed South China Sea
Beijing: China has begun combat-ready patrolling of waters around disputed group of islands in the South China Sea, the country's defence ministry has said.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the move comes amid rising tensions between China and its neighbours over the disputed islands in the resource-rich area.
Asked about what China would do in response to Vietnamese air patrols over the Spratly Islands, the ministry's spokesman, Geng Yansheng, said China would "resolutely oppose any militarily provocative behavior".
"In order to protect national sovereignty and our security and development interests, the Chinese military has already set up a normal, combat-ready patrol system in seas under our control," he said.
"The Chinese military's resolve and will to defend territorial sovereignty and protect our maritime rights and interests is firm and unshakeable," Geng added.