July 28, 2016 10:21 AM EDT

China’s military said Thursday that it has planned joint military drills with Russia in the South China Sea to better relations between the two militaries and improve their ability to respond to maritime threats.

This comes shortly after an international tribunal in The Hague ruled that China’s claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea have no legal basis. China considers the ruling earlier this month to be invalid, and Russia has spoken in support of China. Russia has also argued that countries that do not have a direct claim to the territory should stay neutral, in reference to the U.S., the Associated Press reports.

The air and sea drills will take place in September. Ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun said the military exercises are not targeted at any third parties. He did not disclose the specific location. In recent years, Russia and China have held several joint drills to check American power in the region.

China has challenged ships from the U.S., the Philippines and other nations over the disputed waters. Currently, six governments claim territory in the South China Sea.

[Associated Press]






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