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Troubled waters of South China Sea: recent developments in the region

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​The contentious case of South China Sea
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​The contentious case of South China Sea

The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean. The sea carries tremendous strategic importance with one-third of the world's ships passing through it, carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year



A recent development in the South China Sea follows where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons, The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves.

Reuters
​Xi to visit ASEAN ally Myanmar
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​Xi to visit ASEAN ally Myanmar

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit neighboring Myanmar this week amid efforts to strengthen relations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


Myanmar has also been a reliable backer, along with Laos and Cambodia, of China's campaign to quash criticism within ASEAN of its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea. Beijing has of late been pushing the organization to approve a code of conduct among nations in the disputed waterway that could seek to forbid military operations in the area by rivals such as the U.S., Australia and Japan.

AP
​Indonesian military stands guard
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​Indonesian military stands guard

The Natuna Islands off the coast of Borneo are administered by Indonesia but the waters near the archipelago are claimed by China and used as its traditional fishing grounds.


China's claims to usage rights drew indignation in Indonesia and prompted the military to beef up its forces at the islands. Although China has been making such claims for years, recently dozens of Chinese fishing boats, escorted by its coast guard vessels, were reportedly making more aggressive moves in the area and ignoring Indonesia's warnings to leave.


In the image: Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspect troops at Indonesian Navy Ship amid heightened tensions with China over territorial waters of South China Sea.

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​Jakarta claims islands China regards as fishing grounds
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​Jakarta claims islands China regards as fishing grounds

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday reaffirmed his country's sovereignty during a visit to a group of islands at the edge of the South China Sea that China claims as its traditional fishing area.
Widodo, accompanied by top military officials, toured Natuna Islands on a naval ship in a move designed to send a message to Beijing.

``Natuna is part of Indonesia's territory, there is no question, no doubt,`` Widodo said in a speech after the trip. ``There is no bargaining for our sovereignty.``

In the image: Indonesia Presidents Joko Widodo walks next to a national flag during his visit at a military base in Natuna, near South China Sea

Reuters
​US Air Force calls for greater use of deception
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​US Air Force calls for greater use of deception

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces, said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington that the military should rely more on deception and redirecting the enemy's attention rather than simply the shock and awe of expensive weapons.



``We have to look at other ways of how we do things from the capabilities standpoint,'' Brown said. ``I really believe that (China) will not actually go to war unless they feel confident they can actually win.''Brown also cited electronic warfare as ``another way to confuse an adversary...Those kinds of things that may not take as much money, but may have the same effect,'' Brown said.


In the image: Gen. Charles Q. Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces

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