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USA destroyer in South China Sea violated law, harmed security

13 August 2017

"China is resolutely opposed to this kind of show of force and pushing of regional militarization by the US that may easily cause an unexpected incident at sea or in the air", China's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The supply agreement will be Japan's first military aid deal since lawmakers scrapped a rule in June barring giveaways of surplus military kit to other countries.

Ma said that while China will continue its military activities, those "in the Sea of Japan are still not that many".

The Australian, American and Japanese Foreign Ministers in Manila last weekend for the ASEAN meet.

During the ASEAN meetings, which ended on August 10, China deployed an effective divide-and-conquer strategy, leveraging its close relationship with Cambodia, which has consistently opposed any indirect criticism of China's activities in the disputed waters. Tensions are mounting. This is a gradual process, and the problem is that the South China Sea is now becoming a geopolitical whirlpool sucking in more and more countries. It was not reflective of the situation. "They (China) are not reclaiming land anymore", Cayetano said.

This amounts to an explicit recognition that the Philippines is toeing China's line as ASEAN's chair.

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North Island of the Paracel Islands, November 11, 2016.

On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was asked at a briefing whether "freedom of navigation" and other issues serve to "make for a more hard campaign on North Korea with China".

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had acknowledged leaving out the arbitral ruling and blocking the use of the terms "non-militarization" and "land reclamation" in the joint communiqué issued by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the end of its recent ministerial meeting. In short, there was no consensus even on whether ASEAN is concerned about the issue.

It could also potentially deny access to foreign military forces, such as the United States.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer undertook the "freedom of navigation" mission to challenge China's claim to the territory.

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China has offered to donate $14 million worth of military hardware to the Philippines, besides a soft loan for $500 million in Chinese arms. This is partly because not all 10 members are claimants to the South China Sea.

Asean and China may say the framework is only a guide for how the COC will be established, but it is unclear where the negotiations will lead.

"We told them we are a United States (ship) conducting routine operations in worldwide waters", the official added.

Although the Philippines has taken steps to improve ties with China under its current leader, Rodrigo Duterte, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Friday "we don't find (the sail-by) objectionable".

Now it seems China's patience with the territorial row is running out.

After some delay reflecting sharp disagreement within ASEAN, the resulting joint communique of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting strongly favored China's preferences over its opponents within ASEAN as well as those of the United States. This loss of confidence clearly erodes USA soft power and weakens ASEAN's bargaining position vis-a-vis China. Increasing diplomatic pro-activism in multilateral forums is gradually carried to regional playmaking in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, not counting China's historical hinterlands in Central and East Asia.

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USA destroyer in South China Sea violated law, harmed security