Philippines says it protests China 'harassment' of navy boat

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has in recent weeks been highly critical of alleged abuse suffered by some of the two million Filipino workers in the Middle East

Reuters first reported that two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday, prompting anger in Beijing, which claims most of the strategic waters where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

The statement comes after guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation (FONOP) in the vicinity of the Paracels, with Pentagon officials telling Jane's that the ships sailed near the disputed Tree, Woody, Lincoln, and Triton islands.

Also, a source close to the Chinese delegation said Zhou Bo, a senior colonel from the People's Liberation Army, would make a speech at a special session on competition and cooperation between China and India, ahead of a keynote address by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on potential conflicts in the region. The move signals USA rejection of China's claims of political control in the South China Sea. "We are not saying we are going to war, but if they oppress us that may force our hand, because we will not allow ourselves to be oppressed".

"President Duterte's approach is prudent, patient and pragmatic".

Political analyst and youtuber Black Pigeon Speaks explains why the investment that China is making to militarize the region is only useful for psychological and propagandistic purposes, and would serve nearly no strategic value if directly challenged by the US military.

The Philippines and China recently held talks to prevent a repeat of the incident, which earned the "displeasure" of President Rodrigo Duterte, the official said.

The territorial disputes and U.S.

Esperon said the government was also upgrading the port and airstrip facilities in Pag-asa Island as part of its efforts to promote the welfare of Filipinos living in the area.

"The Philippine government continuously monitors the actions of the various claimants" in the disputed area, he said. Weeks earlier, United States intelligence announced there was a high possibility Beijing had deployed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles as part of military exercises.

Mattis said despite Chinese President Xi Jinping's vow not to militarize the Spratly Islands during the past month Beijing moved weaponry there.

"We are going out of our way to cooperate with Pacific nations, that's the way we do business in the world, but we are also going to confront what we believe is out of step with worldwide law".

He said US diplomats are "robustly engaged" on the issue, and that there is growing global concern.

China claims most of the resources-rich sea through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually, and in recent years has reclaimed reefs and shoals including some claimed by Manila.

Here's why the South China Sea is so hotly contested.

"China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States", Adm. Philip Davidson, the new head of U.S. Pacific Command, said in April.

The government has not been remiss in taking diplomatic actions against China's militarization in the South China Sea, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. assured Wednesday.



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