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US plans 'steady drumbeat' of exercises in South China Sea: Mattis

01 June 2018

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

"We control Scarborough until 2011, but in 2012 nung nagkaroon ng misfire ang Aquino administration, umalis tayo at sila (China) bumalik".

He also said he has assured acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio-an outspoken critic of the administration's West Philippine Sea policies-that the department is fighting for the country's interests, without making a fuss over it. Alejano asked the government to condemn the Chinese harassment.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the time the U.S. decision was "very unconstructive". "I don't want to blame Congress, you must have your own reasons for not giving us P30 billion annually", he added.

"The Duterte approach is prudent, patient and pragmatic", he said at the briefing of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea at the Lower House yesterday.

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. Ousting China from the exercise could signal that joint activities, or the military relationship as a whole, are a reward.

Alan Peter Cayetano used the term "West Philippine Sea", to denote those waters that are within the country's 370-kilometre exclusive economic zone. Many nations fear that Beijing will use the construction on the islands to extend its military reach and potentially try to restrict navigation in the South China Sea.

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The territorial disputes and U.S. China denied the court ruling and argued that the tribunal had no jurisdiction in the case.

An worldwide tribunal ruled in 2016, in a case brought by the Philippines, that most of Beijing's stated claims in the South China Sea were illegal under global maritime law.

"The Chinese government said that warships sailing in the disputed waters where China claims ownership is a serious infringement" of its "inherent territory".

Beijing claims an enormous swathe of territory throughout the South China Sea, often called the "nine-dash line", from its southern Hainan province all the way in which right down to the waters north of Malaysia.

He said lighthouses were being constructed on Philippine-occupied islets and the government has been improving port facilities and a partly eroded airstrip on Thitu island.

But if deemed necessary, Esperon said, the Philippines will look into the option of fighting back if China will coerce or hurt Filipino troops and civilians based on the islands located in disputed areas. This would allow more space for geopolitical maneuvering while facilitating Vietnam's Doi Moi policy of opening up and furthering worldwide economic integration, he said.

The comments came after China's foreign ministry expressed Beijing's "strong dissatisfaction" with a FONOP carried out on Sunday.

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But Mattis said, there is only one country that seems to take active steps to rebuff or state their resentment over the U.S. recent freedom of navigation operations in the global waters.

The US Navy sent two warships to a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea on May 28 in its latest symbolic protest against China's claims there.

Mattis says the USA will confront "what we believe is out of step with global law". The operation that was conducted on Sunday had been undergoing drills and planning for months on end.

However, four years after the ships' pullouts which granted China a tighter grip on the West Philippine Sea, Aquino said Beijing failed to fulfill its part of the deal, supposedly brokered by the USA, as it did not follow Manila's pullout of ships.

"Our diplomats are robustly engaged on this", Mattis said.

Mattis is stopping in Hawaii on his way to the Singapore meeting so that he can attend the ceremony marking the change in leadership at U.S. Pacific Command.

The current head, Admiral Harry Harris, has been nominated to be the new ambassador to South Korea.

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US plans 'steady drumbeat' of exercises in South China Sea: Mattis