Mattis says US to continue operations in South China Sea

Mattis says US to continue operations in South China Sea

Mattis says US to continue operations in South China Sea

U.S. freedom of navigation maneuvers are not a new occurrence for the U.S. Navy, who often sails close to Chinese man made islands in the region as a rejection to China's continued buildup in the contested waterway.

Philippines island construction: the island nation itself "has started repairing a runway and upgrading other facilities on Thitu Island, the South China Sea territory that was previous year the scene of a stand-off between Chinese and Philippine vessels", according to the South China Morning Post.

Earlier this month, China's air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the region.

REFUTING domestic criticism that of its soft stance on China's militarisation of the South China Sea, the Philippines said it was prepared to go to war with the country if any of its military personnel are harmed in the disputed waters. That's the way we do business in the world.

"We maintain a very transparent military activity out in the Pacific".

Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel and military analyst, said the security dialogue had often provided a platform for the United States and its allies to raise their concerns about China.

Since he assumed office in June 2016, President Duterte has sought to strengthen ties between Manila and Beijing that were strained by the maritime dispute.

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 USA military.

He echoed President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that the Philippines would not go to war against China.

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Beijing claims a huge swathe of territory across the South China Sea, known as the "nine-dash line", from its southern Hainan province all the way down to the waters north of Malaysia.

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.

China says navy pilots aboard the country's sole operating aircraft carrier have completed their first nighttime takeoffs and landings.

But he said it was unfair to single out China for its advanced militarization in the South China Sea. "But we're also going to confront what we believe is out of step with global law and out of step with worldwide tribunals that have spoken on the issue, and part of this is we maintain a very transparent military activity out in the Pacific", Mattis said.

China is facing increasing tension with the U.S. and its neighbours over the South China Sea issue.

"We have been filing diplomatic protests but our critics want us to shout loudly", Cayetano said.

Before Singapore, Mattis is in Hawaii, where he will participate in a change of command ceremony at Pacific Command headquarters.

Harris has been nominated to become the next USA ambassador to South Korea.

National security and defence experts have said that the military operations being conducted by the Pentagon are mainly symbolic and that they have no impact on how China will behave going forward.

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