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South China Sea

US presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea

WASHINGTON: Standing side by side, top US officials urged their Chinese counterparts on Friday to halt militarization of the disputed South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese for sending US warships close to islands claimed by Beijing. During a round of high-level talks in Washington, the two sides aired in sometimes blunt terms many of their main differences, including a bitter trade dispute, freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific waters, self-ruled Taiwan, and China’s crackdown on its Muslim minority in…

China condemns US for South China Sea freedom of navigation operation

BEIJING: China expressed anger on Tuesday after a US Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, saying it resolutely opposed an operation that it called a threat to its sovereignty. Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war in which they have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other's imports. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyer the USS Decatur traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly…

US warship sails near disputed South China Sea islands: US official

WASHINGTON: A US Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, a US official told Reuters, potentially angering Beijing at a time of tense relations between the two countries. Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war that has seen them impose increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other’s imports. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyer Decatur traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands. The…

Japan conducts first submarine drill in disputed South China Sea: media

Japan has carried out its first submarine drill in the South China Sea, a newspaper said Monday, a move that could provoke Beijing which claims most of the disputed waters. Submarine Kuroshio on Thursday joined three Japanese warships in waters just southwest of the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, the Asahi Shimbun said. China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually, despite competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and…

North Korea still ‘serious and imminent threat’: Japan

North Korea still poses a “serious and imminent threat”, Japan said Tuesday in its first annual defence review since tensions eased on the Korean peninsula. Japan's 2018 defence white paper also took aim at China's rise as a military power, saying Beijing was sparking “strong security concerns in the region and international community, including Japan”. Last year's defence review was published at the height of the tensions with North Korea, amid nuclear and missile tests and with US President Donald Trump threatening…

China keen on military drills with Asean, insists on keeping US out

SINGAPORE: China wants to stage joint military exercises with Southeast Asian nations in disputed waters, according to a draft document, but insists other countries should be excluded in what analysts say is a bid to diminish US influence. Beijing’s suggestions, which also call for joint oil and gas exploration, are part of efforts to expand its influence in the South China Sea, which it claims almost entirely, and push back at Washington which has backed countries with overlapping claims to the waters. The move came…

China carries out missile drills in South China Sea amid heightened tensions

BEIJING: China’s navy carried out drills in the South China Sea to simulate fending off an aerial attack, state media said on Friday, as China and the United States trade barbs over who is responsible for heightened tensions in the disputed waterways. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern during a visit to Beijing on Thursday over China’s efforts to militarize the seas. His remarks came after a flurry of U.S. activity in the region, including reports last week that U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers had flown…

Mattis warns of Chinese ‘intimidation’; says U.S. seeks ‘results-oriented’ ties

SINGAPORE: The United States is willing to work with China on a “results- oriented” relationship, but Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea were coercive and the Pentagon would “compete vigorously” if needed, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday. The comments by Mattis, speaking at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, come at a time of increased tension between the two nations in the South China Sea and highlight how President Donald Trump’s administration is looking to balance China’s cooperation…

Satellite images reveal show of force by Chinese navy in South China Sea

HANOI/HONG KONG: Dozens of Chinese naval vessels are exercising this week with an aircraft carrier in a large show of force off Hainan island in the South China Sea, satellite images obtained by Reuters show. The images, provided by Planet Labs, confirm a Chinese carrier group has entered the vital trade waterway as part of what the Chinese navy earlier described as combat drills that were part of routine annual exercises. The Liaoning carrier group last week traversed the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese…