Xi visits fleet in S. China Sea drill, cites need to build powerful navy

Chinese President Xi Jinping made a surprise visit on Thursday to observe naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea, AFP reported. Xi stressed the “urgent” need to build a powerful navy as the country prepares for live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait. Some 48 warships, 76 fighter jets, and more than 10,000 navy personnel took part in the drill at an undisclosed location, according to China Military newspaper. The US has said China’s activities in the area pose a threat to freedom of navigation in the strategically vital waterway, where Beijing has built "an archipelago of artificial islands capable of hosting military equipment." The aircraft carrier USS ‘Theodore Roosevelt’ gave a demonstration Tuesday for members of the Philippine government.