BEIJING – China and Russia are set to start 8-day their largest joint naval drills in the South China Sea from Monday.

According to the Chinese navy spokesman, the “Joint Sea-2016” exercises will feature surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters and marines.

The two countries will carry out defence, rescue and anti-submarine operations, as well as island seizing and other activities through live-fire drills, island defence and landing operations.

Similar naval drills were previously held in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean sea last year.

The Joint Sea-2016 exercises come as the United States and other allied countries are continuously pushing China to accept the verdict of an international tribunal over the South China Sea.

In July this year, a UN-backed panel had ruled that China did not have any historic rights to the South China Sea, settling a plea filed by the Philippines. However, China rejected the ruling.

Russia has also been a strong backer of the Chinese claims over the South China Sea.

It is also worth mentioning here that South China Sea is a disputed region between China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Every year, trade worth $5 trillion moves through this region.