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Japan opens radar station close to disputed isles, drawing angry China response

Japan on Monday switched on a radar station in the East China Sea, giving it a permanent intelligence gathering post close to Taiwan and a group of islands disputed by Japan and China, drawing an angry response from Beijing.

The new Self Defence Force base on the island of Yonaguni is at the western extreme of a string of Japanese islands in the East China Sea, 150 km (90 miles) south of the disputed islands known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. [READ MORE]

Navy aircraft carrier group moves into contested South China Sea

SCSC - The U.S. Navy has dispatched an aircraft carrier and several ships accompanying it into the South China Sea in the last few days, a deployment of thousands of U.S. sailors to a region a top U.S. admiral said last week is increasingly militarized by China.

The USS John C. Stennis, the carrier, arrived in the South China Sea on Tuesday, Navy officials said. It is accompanied by the cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the destroyers USS Stockdale and USS Chung-Hoon, said Navy Cmdr. Clay Doss, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet. The ships arrived in the Western Pacific on Feb. 4 on a deployment from the West Coast of the United States. [READ MORE]

Joint Statement of the U.S.-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit: Sunnylands Declaration

We the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States of America gathered in Sunnylands, California, on February 15-16, 2016, for a Special Leaders Summit.

This Special U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Summit was the first ever to be held in the United States and the very first Summit following the establishment of the ASEAN Community. [READ MORE]

U.S. to have ‘very serious conversation’ with China over suspected South China Sea missile deploymen

BEIJING — The United States is very concerned about China’s growing militarization of the South China Sea and intends to have a “very serious conversation” with Beijing after reports emerged that it had deployed suspected ­surface-to-air missile batteries on a disputed island, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday.

“There is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarization of one kind or another,” Kerry told reporters when asked about the reported deployment, agencies reported. “It’s of serious concern.” [READ MORE]

U.S. Concerned by Non-Navy Chinese Boats in South China Sea

China’s increased reliance on non-naval ships to assert its claims in the South China Sea is complicating U.S. efforts to avoid a clash in the disputed waters, according to 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin.

While the U.S. and Chinese navies are working more closely under an agreed code for unplanned encounters at sea, the deployment of coast guard and other non-naval vessels in the area is “a concern of mine,” Aucoin told reporters on Monday in Singapore. [READ MORE]

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]

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]

Countries Should Play By Same Rules In South China Sea: Barack Obama

WASHINGTON: In a clear signal to China, US President Barack Obama today said all countries should play by the same rules in international law including freedom of navigation in the South China Sea while India can be an anchor of stability in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region.

He also said India and US will continue to expand their military exercises and maritime cooperation so that the two forces become "interoperable". [READ MORE]

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