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BEIJING (Reuters) - China will hold military exercises in southeast coastal areas beginning on Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defence said on Sunday.

It described the drills as annual and routine in a statement on its website, saying they would test combat readiness and capability. The statement did not give details on where the exercises would be carried out.

Flights to and from Shanghai International Airport Co. Ltd. and 11 other airports in east China will face major delays until mid-August because of military drills, Beijing's Public Security Bureau said last week.

But the ministry said recent military exercises were not the main reason for flight delays - rather weather conditions were to blame.

Authorities will open temporary air routes and take other measures to minimize the drills' impact on civil flights, the ministry added.

Airports in east China are among the busiest in the country.

(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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