United States sends McCain's namesake to challenge Chinese maritime claims

North Korea war

Under former President Obama, the United States suspended FONOPs in the South China Sea for three years between 2012 and 2015, during which time Beijing made massive strides towards militarizing the area.

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

And with China putting pressure on Singapore to downplay the South China Sea issue, Storey said the city state would have its work cut out trying to keep everyone happy.

Beijing claims most of the sea and has been turning reefs in the Spratlys and Paracel chains into islands, installing military aircraft and missile systems on them - an activity the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said was continuing.

Since the mid-1990s, China has increasingly resorted to delaying tactics in handling these maritime and territorial disputes. "They (China) are not reclaiming land anymore, so why will you put it again here?"

China's Foreign Ministry has once again protests the U.S. naval visits in what it claims are its own territorial waters.

"But (activities) in the Sea of Japan are still not that many".

Tensions have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests previous year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of U.N. sanctions which angered Pyongyang who threatened to teach the United States a "severe lesson".

"We are looking at what we will do with our spare parts, but have nothing concrete we can discuss", said a spokesman for the procurement agency of Japan's defense ministry. China's Global Times newspaper labelled Australia, Japan and the U.S. "a little bit bad" after their statement.

"Some external forces wish to go against the tide and provoke troubles in the name of "freedom of navigation", aiming to destroy the good atmosphere". Nicole Schwegman said all Navy operations "are conducted in accordance with global law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows". "It is clear who is not willing to see stability in the South China Sea and who is the major factor pushing for militarization in the South China Sea". It's true in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said threats against the USA from North Korea would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen." .

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claimed Tuesday the Philippines did not want to mention land reclamation in the Joint Communiqué of the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as China is no longer reclaiming land.

Tokyo's ties with Beijing have always been plagued by a territorial dispute over a group of tiny, uninhabited East China Sea islets and the legacy of Japan's wartime aggression.

Speaking with the Indian media on the decks of the PLAN's frigate Yulin about the growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean - which is much to the disquiet of India - he said China's military is defensive in nature, not offensive.

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