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China moves to formally garrison South China Sea

Despite protests from other Asian countries, China's military is making moves to up their presence in the disputed South China Sea.

By Ben Blanchard and Wan XuReuters / July 22, 2012

Anti-China protesters chant slogans during an anti-China protest at a park in Hanoi July 22. Vietnamese protesters demonstrated in Hanoi on Sunday against China's moves to strengthen its claim on disputed islands in the South China Sea.




China's powerful Central Military Commission has approved the formal establishment of a military garrison for the disputed South China Sea state media said on Sunday, in a move which could further boost tensions in already fractious region.

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China has a substantial military presence in the South China Sea and the move is essentially a further assertion of its sovereignty claims after it last month upped the administrative status of the seas to the level of a city, which it calls Sansha.

The official Xinhua news agency said the Sansha garrison would be responsible for "national defense mobilisation ... guarding the city and supporting local emergency rescue and disaster relief" and "carrying out military missions".

It provided no further details.

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