China's military on Friday conducted "routine patrols" with its naval and air forces in the South China Sea, it said in a statement.

The military maintains high level of alert at all times, and "resolutely safeguards" the national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Southern Theatre Command said on its WeChat Account.

The Philippines and the United States conducted joint maritime exercises in the South China Sea on Friday, according to the Philippine military, the latest round of drills underlining ongoing expansion of their defence ties.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; editing by Christina Fincher)