Australia strongly supports US activity in South China Sea, says Marise Payne

Australia is not involved in US naval activity in the South China Sea, but strongly supports the US policy of conducting freedom of navigation operations, the defence minister, Marise Payne, said.

The US navy on Tuesday confirmed that its guided missile destroyer, USS Lassen, had sailed within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China as part of the country’s territorial claim in the highly disputed area. [READ MORE]

Support swells behind US challenge to South China Sea claim

The US guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen navigated on Monday through an area of the South China Sea traditionally known as international waters but claimed by the Chinese government.

The Philippines hailed the sail-by as a restoration to the area's "balance of power" and a correction to China's infringement of international waters. President Benigno Aquino III said the move was "meant precisely to say that there are norms as to what freedom of navigation entails." [READ MORE]

S. Korea calls for peaceful resolution of disputes in South China Sea

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- A senior presidential official renewed South Korea's calls Wednesday for peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

"South Korea has been strongly calling for restraint of any action that affects peace and stability in the region," the official told reporters, adding that disputes should be resolved in accordance of international norms. [READ MORE]

South China Sea Decision Up to Lawmakers, Admiral Says

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — The U.S. Navy's top commander in the Pacific says it's up to policymakers in Washington whether his sailors patrol within 12 nautical miles of newly constructed islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.

Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift spoke during an interview Thursday amid tensions over Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea and reports the U.S. will sail near the disputed islands to challenge those claims. [READ MORE]

US updates India on China sea 'navigation' plans

New Delhi, Oct. 19: The US has briefed India on possible "Freedom of Navigation" naval operations in the South China Sea and has brought back to the table the signing of three "foundational" documents to enhance military-to-military relations.

The US had also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Manohar Parrikar to attend the Malabar naval exercises, which included Japan and ended today in the Bay of Bengal. [READ MORE]

China’s ‘provocation’ in South China Sea slammed

BEIJING: China’s construction work on islands in the disputed South China Sea is “unwarranted provocation”, Malaysia’s armed forces chief said on Sunday, in a rare public comment about the spat from a country, which has its own claims in the seas.

China’s relations with several Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines and Vietnam who have competing claims in the South China Sea, have been strained by Beijing’s increasingly assertive tone in an area through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes annually. [READ MORE]

Amidst tension in South China Sea, US, Japan and India ready for naval Exercise Malabar

Confrontation is brewing in the South China Sea, with the Financial Times reporting that the United States Navy (USN) is about to challenge China's construction of "artificial islands" in disputed waters.

Beijing's maritime neighbours, especially Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam are backed by Washington in resisting China's increasingly aggressive claims to most of the South China Sea and islands in the Sea of Japan, on which the neighbours maintain their own claims. [READ MORE]

U.S. Navy readies patrols near man-made Chinese islands

The Obama administration will soon order Navy warships to patrol near man-made islands constructed by China in the South China Sea, a U.S. warning that it will not accept Beijing’s vast territorial claims in the heavily traveled waters, officials said.

But a decision to escalate the tit-for-tat jockeying with Beijing carries risks: Depending on how the planned display of U.S. power unfolds, it could be seen by Beijing and American allies in the region as a sign of U.S. strength — or of a reluctance to confront China. [READ MORE]

US, Australia Warn China on Sea Access

WASHINGTON: The United States and its Pacific ally Australia warned China on Tuesday that they remain committed to freedom of navigation in the waters of the South China Sea.

China has maritime territorial disputes with several of its southeast Asian neighbors and is trying to bolster its claim by building artificial islands. [READ MORE]

South China Sea: US Admiral Scott Swift takes swipe at China during Sydney speech

A top United States admiral has used a speech in Sydney to take a thinly veiled swipe at China, warning his navy is "as committed as ever" to protect freedom of navigation in the Pacific region.

The commander of the US Pacific Fleet warned that if bullying behaviour at sea is not confronted, it will spread and become a "friction point" on land. [READ MORE]

NGO files case vs China reclamation

A NONGOVERNMENT organization led by former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez on Wednesday filed a letter-complaint in the United Nations (UN) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) against China’s reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea, citing its negative impact on marine resources.

In his letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, Golez, who chairs the Movement and Alliance to Resist China’s Aggression (Marcha), urged the agencies to “investigate and take appropriate action” on China’s reclamation activities which have caused the “destruction of coral reefs in the South China Sea.” [READ MORE]

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