Australia backs US in latest South China Sea stoush

Australia has emphatically backed the latest incursion by the United States into the South China Sea and has hinted at naval and air missions of its own.

Following Saturday's exercise in which the US guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur angered Beijing by sailing near a disputed island in the South China Sea, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said the US was upholding international law. [READ MORE]

Nations voice respect for aviation and navigation freedom in East Sea

Leaders from a number of countries in Asia-Pacific have raised their voices to affirm their countries’ respect for the right of aviation and navigation freedom in the East Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his support for the US Navy Aegis Destroyer’s passage within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built illegally by China in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago. [READ MORE]

U.S. warship sails near disputed island in South China Sea

BANGKOK — A U.S. warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea on Saturday to exercise the U.S.'s freedom to navigate in international waters, a defense official said.

The USS Curtis Wilbur destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, in the Paracels chain, without notifying the three claimants to the surrounding seas beforehand, according to Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright in Washington. [READ MORE]

Ma’s visit to disputed S. China Sea island won’t contribute to stability

The latest visit to a disputed island in the South China Sea was an action that raises concerns among neighboring countries and does not contribute to regional stability.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou visited Taiping Island, the largest islet in the Spratlys. He made the day trip to the island aboard a Taiwan Air Force plane and reportedly encouraged officials and other personnel stationed on the island. [READ MORE]

China reorganizing military to close gap with US

China’s armed forces are undergoing a sweeping five-year reorganization aimed at creating central control over the military’s nearly autonomous branches and creating a more lethal fighting force to close the gap with U.S. capabilities, analysts say.

The restructuring is the most profound undertaken since the 1950s when Soviet advisers helped modernize the nation’s post-civil war military, changes that will likely challenge long-held assumptions by the Pentagon, according to David M. Finkelstein, director of the China Studies division of CNA, a Washington, D.C.,-based research center. [READ MORE]

China started using artificial facilities to establish de facto control over the South China Sea

On January 2nd 2016, the Vietnamese Press voiced condemnation against China’s test flight to the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys Archipelago, quoting Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Hai Binh when he asserted that China’s above-mentioned action had seriously violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the Spratlys, run counter to the common understanding of high-level Vietnamese and Chinese leaders and the Agreement between Viet Nam and China on the basic principles guilding the settlement of sea-related issues as well as the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), threatening peace and stability in the South China Sea, diminishing political trust between the two countries and negatively affecting the neighbourliness and good sentiments between the Vietnamese and Chinese peoples.

XNA’s groundless criticism against the US dispatch of warships to Subi and Mischief Reefs

SCSC - On 27 October 2015, Xinhua published an article criticizing the United States for sending the USS Lassen missile destroyer to exercise the right to navigation freedom in the 12-nautical-mile zones around Subi and Mischief Reefs of the Spratly archipelago. However, the arguments provided in the article contained many groundless points.

First, the article asserted that the US action was provocative and that the US was playing the game of the brink of war in attempt to strengthen its overwhelming presence, leading to regional instability.

Irrational arguments in Xi ’s speech on China’s sovereignty over the Spratlys since “ancient times"

On September 22nd 2015, prior to his visit to the United States of America, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered written answers to questions from the Wall Street Journal stating that “the Nansha (Spratly) islands have been China’s territory since ancient times”[1].

The sovereignty so-called by Xi is used to justify China’s island reclamation and militarization activities in the reefs and islands illegally occupied by the country in the Spratlys.

India will not step back in the South China Sea

SCSC - On 1st September 2015, the Chinese Taipei’s Want China Times reported that India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) was ready to move an oil platform into the South China Sea for oil and gas exploration in the sea of Viet Nam.

All of a sudden, China’s media blatantly criticized the Indian project signed with Viet Nam on oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, declaring such project an illegal and unwise action that would affect the Sino-India relations[1].

Kerry to press China over North Korea, urge ASEAN unity over South China Sea

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a visit to Asia on Sunday in which he plans to press China to put more curbs on North Korea after its nuclear test and to urge Southeast Asia to show unity in response to Beijing's claims in the South China Sea.

Kerry started what will be a three-day stay in the region in Laos, the 2016 chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He will head to Cambodia on Monday night and then on to Beijing for talks on Wednesday with the leadership there. [READ MORE]

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