After the exercises, the Chinese foreign ministry will probably make a statement about its own maritime sovereignty claims and criticize the role of “external actors,” said Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei. New military exercises are likely, but later, he said. Another round would lead to yet another response, he said.

“If China doesn’t want other countries to be so involved militarily in the region then it probably also shouldn’t be so ostentatious about its own military actions in the region,” Spangler said.