Washington to Increase Naval Exercises in South China Sea

U.S. Navy: Chinese warships maneuvered in

In a House briefing on Wednesday, Duterte's top security adviser said filing a diplomatic protest against China for its landing of bombers on Woody Island in the Paracels being claimed by Vietnam, but not by the Philippines, was unnecessary.

"If anyone gets the natural resources in the West Philippine Sea, he [Duterte] will go to war", Cayetano said on Monday.

Mattis said despite Chinese President Xi Jinping's vow not to militarize the Spratly Islands during the past month Beijing moved weaponry there.

The U.S. took the dramatic step last week of disinviting China from a major U.S. -led biennial naval exercise in the Pacific Ocean known as Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) this year, after China deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems, and electronic jammers to the land features in the South China Sea.

The Foreign Affairs secretary also denied that the Duterte administration has not been acting on the issues in the West Philippine Sea, saying that the government had filed 50 to 100 diplomatic protests against China, but are opting not to publicize these.

Marco Rubio and Cory Gardner, expressed "grave concerns" over Beijing's actions and stated that "we believe there is strong bipartisan congressional support for taking significant actions in response to the Chinese government's continuing militarization of the South China Sea". "We've very open about them, and report them", he said.

Mattis said, the USA will maintain a "steady drum beat" in the South China Sea to "confront" China for actions that Washington deems to "be out of step with global law" and worldwide tribunal rulings. "Whatever their professions are - justice, politician, newsman, journalist - if we lost a single island during Duterte's time, I will pack my bags, go home and I will not serve the public in any elected or appointed position".

He was referring to the June 2012 pullout of two Philippine ships involved in a three-month standoff with China in Scarborough Shoal ordered by then-President Noynoy Aquino due to bad weather.

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"The Philippine government continuously monitors the actions of the various claimants in the SCS/WPS (South China Sea/West Philippine Sea)". Ousting China from the exercise could signal that joint activities, or the military relationship as a whole, are a reward.

"Just the other night, the president said if my troops are hurt there, that could be my red line", Esperon told reporters.

Here's why the South China Sea is so hotly contested.

The Pentagon sent two US warships through the waters of the South China Sea over the weekend, a public demonstration of the right of free passage in global waters and, in the process, sending China a message.

He added that the area was regarded as worldwide waters and many countries wanted to exercise their freedom of navigation.

The massive military event, known as RIMPAC, is described by the US Navy as the world's largest global maritime warfare exercise and involves more than 20 countries from across the world.

Mattis is stopping in Hawaii on his way to the Singapore meeting so that he can attend the ceremony marking the change in leadership at U.S. Pacific Command. He will be replaced by Admiral Philip Davidson.

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