The Chinese-Russian fleet seized an island as part of an eight-day exercise in the South China Sea.

A total of 18 ships and supply vessels, 21 aircraft and over 250 service personnel from the PLAN and the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet were part of the naval drills in the South China Sea.

The joint Chinese-Russian exercise comes after a July 12th ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that decisively rejected Beijing’s claims to much of the South China Sea.

China has built artificial islands in the contested Spratly chain, including several with military-grade airfields in its bid to consolidate its control of the area.

Beijing blasted the ruling, calling it “waste paper” and has vowed to ignore it.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese and Russian participants were to undertake “defence, rescue, and anti-submarine operations”, as well as “island-seizing” missions.

Marines also carried out live-fire drills, sea crossing and island-landing operations, as well as “island defence and offence exercises”.

The exercises are being held in waters east of Zhanjiang, the southernmost city of Guangdong province, where the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s South China Sea Fleet is headquartered.

The exercise is the first time the China-Russia joint exercise had been held in the South China Sea.

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