On October 27, 2015, the USS Lassen destroyer approached the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, causing a diplomatic standoff between Beijing and Washington. China said the incident was a violation of its sovereignty, while US officials said the move was intended to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson described Beijing's actions in the South China Sea as "an illegal taking of disputed areas without regard for international norms".
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Beijing was "very sensitive about the appearance of the US containing China".
After a widely debated decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague on the issue of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, the situation in the region so far remains stable, contrary to the expectations of many analysts.
Barack Obama's signature foreign policy initiative was meant to shift Washington's focus from the Middle East to Asia Pacific, but the United States will not be able to counter China and wreak havoc in the region, political analyst Stanislav Tarasov.
The Hague's verdict on the South China Sea is by no means the end of the quarrel over the disputed territories, but rather yet another crossroads in the rancorous debate. Should the United States decide to increase its presence in the South China Sea in retaliation for China's disrespect, tensions may escalate further, with unforeseen consequences.
The international arbitration court’s ruling on territorial disputes in the South China Sea could help claimants explore joint development opportunities in the region, a senior US Department of State official told reporters.
Leaders of the G7 group expressed concern over the territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, in a joint declaration released on the second day of the G7 summit in Japan.
The Pentagon's latest "freedom of navigation" operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, which Beijing referred to as an act of provocation, shows that tensions in "one of the world's most explosive hotspots" could escalate, analysts warned.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed on Monday that agreements allowing further expansion of the US military presence in South China Sea will result in increased militarization of the region.
The Kazakh Senate ratified the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) agreement, which sets out the AIIB's legal framework, local media reported Thursday.
Singapore will serve as a base for US surveillance flights to monitor Chinese activities in the South China Sea, Foreign Policy reported Monday, citing Pentagon officials.
At the 10th East Asia Summit in Malaysia on Sunday, China's deputy foreign minister told dignitaries including US President Obama that the facilities being built on islands in the South China Sea have a civilian purpose, and warned other countries not to provoke China.
The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt has left the South China Sea area of disputed islands for deployment in the eastern and northern Pacific Ocean, the US Navy announced on Friday.
US military officials are increasingly aware that they cannot influence Beijing when it comes to land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, the Global Times asserted.
The United States sent a guided missile destroyer close to China's artificial islands in a bid to "intentionally provoke a military confrontation" with Beijing, expert on Asia Michael Billington told PressTV.
A Chinese submarine is said to have "sailed very close" to the USS Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, just days before Washington caused uproar by sending the USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of man-made islands which Beijing claims as its own, the Washington Free Beacon reported, citing unnamed US defense officials.
Two fighter jets assigned to China's PLA Navy flew training missions from an airstrip located in the South China Sea after the USS Lassen entered the strategic waterway and sailed close to the archipelago, which Beijing claims as its own, South China Morning Post reported.
In an attempt to explain the American patrols in the South China Sea, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has claimed that the tension in the South China Sea has forced many countries in the region to turn to the US for protection and “intensify their security cooperation” with Washington.
In his column for The American Conservative, veteran commentator Pat Buchanan warned that before rushing headlong into the territorial dispute over the islands in the South China Sea, Washington must consider very carefully what its vital interests are, adding that the best way to challenge Chinese expansion is economic pressure, not militarism.
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