Nearly a week after losing a historic case over its territorial claims in the South China Sea, China is closing off part of the region for military drills this week.
Beijing's maritime administration issued a warning Monday that an area located southeast of the island province of Hainan would be off limits between Tuesday and Thursday.
The United Nations' Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dismissed Beijing's claim of virtual sovereignty over the nearly 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea in a ruling last Tuesday. The decision was a response to a complaint filed by the Philippines in 2013 over China's aggressive actions on the Scarborough Shoal, a reef located about 225 kilometers off the Philippine coast.
The Hague-based court ruled that China's claims under the so-called "nine-dash line" violates the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which sets a country's maritime boundaries 22 kilometers from its coast, and control over economic activities up to 370 kilometers from its coast.
Beijing refused to participate in the case, saying the court had no jurisdiction to decide the matter -- despite being a signatory to UNCLOS -- and has repeatedly denounced the verdict.
China has launched a massive land seizure and rebuilding effort throughout the South China Sea in recent years, transforming numerous reefs into artificial islands that can support military installations, ignoring competing claims over the region by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, as well as the Philippines.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Beijing's rebuilding efforts have "caused severe harm to the coral reef environment
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.