BEIJING (Web Desk) – China has expressed serious concerns over the upcoming Malabar joint maritime exercise planned by the United States, Japan and India in the South China sea, calling it a divide and rule tactic of Western powers.

Chinese officials said that they will continue to raise the issue at every forum as it casts serious threat to the sovereignty of the South China Sea.

The naval war games are scheduled in the waters of Philippines, near the South China Sea, a region disputed by China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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Four Indian vessels; INS Satpura, INS Sahyadri, INS Shakti, and INS Kirch; have already left for the exercise. These ships have been present in the South China Sea and North West Pacific for two-and-a-half months.

China’s expression of concern comes just ahead of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit, who is scheduled to land in Guangzhou on May 24.