Vietnam says Chinese reports of PM backing Beijing stance 'untruthful'

The announcement of the drills came in the middle of a three-day visit to China by the U.S. Navy's top admiral, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, to discuss the South China Sea dispute and ways to boost interactions between the two militaries.

China also said that it would set up an air defence identification zone in the region.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ended his unusual silence at a private function late on Thursday and said he wanted dialogue with China and was considering sending former President Fidel Ramos to Beijing to get the ball rolling.

An estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes each year through the South China Sea, which is home to rich fishing grounds and a potentially vast wealth of oil, gas and other natural resources.

China says the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration is "null and void" because the tribunal has no jurisdiction in this case. Taiwan controls a large part of the Spratly Islands.

But in recent months the US has conducted a series of high-profile freedom of navigation operations in the disputed waters, near the artificial islands China has created there.

Yasay's account of the meeting highlights the challenge ahead for the Philippines, a US ally, in getting China to comply with the decision which has ramped up tensions in the vital trade route.

Richardson, who arrived in China on Sunday and leaves tomorrow, is expected to visit the navy's submarine academy and tour the Liaoning aircraft carrier in Qingdao in Shandong province.

In the meeting, Wu said China would not stop building reefs and islands in the sea, state-owned Xinhua news agency reported, with that construction also a part of China's efforts to bolster its claims.

China demarcated its South China Sea in 1947 with a U-shaped line made up of 11 dashes on a map covering most of the area. He said, "China will stand firm on the matter of principle and China will also use all military resources to make sure that the United States will not win this battle against China".

Chinese coastguards prevented a Filipino fishing boat from entering the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea on July 14, according to a Filipino broadcaster.

China is the biggest beneficiary of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and won't let anybody damage it, Sun said.

Sun said his country would not let anyone harm its stakes in the sea and that the so-called freedom of navigation issue brings in military threats, as well as "challenges and disrespects the worldwide law of the sea".

"We will never sacrifice our sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea", Wu said, stressing that it is China's "core interest" and concerns the foundation of the Party's governance, the country's security and stability and the Chinese nation's basic interests.

China's Foreign Ministry later said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had told Mr. Li that Cambodia would uphold a "fair and objective stance" on the South China Sea issue and work to maintain friendly China-Asean relations, according to a statement.

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