By James Cogan
2 May 2016
Tensions between the United States and China are rising in the lead-up to a ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration on a US-backed legal challenge launched by the Philippines to Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Last Wednesday, leading Republican and Democratic Party senators joined forces to introduce legislation, “The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative Act,” that is aimed at dramatically increasing the US intervention into the territorial disputes. The legislation authorises the Obama administration to give greater military assistance to the Philippines and other rivals to China’s claims, while requiring the White House report to the Senate on US plans for “freedom of navigation assertions” and “China’s activities in the South China Sea.”
The US has conducted two “freedom of navigation” operations, once in October 2015 and again in January, during which an American warship intruded into the 12-mile…
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