There is growing anger in the Philippines after a Chinese vessel seemingly rammed a fishing boat in the South China Sea and left its crew to fend for themselves.
The United States is set to withdraw from the INF treaty on February 2, which could lower the threshold for accidental nuclear war, particularly with China in the mix.
In a statement, Chinese air force says bombers landed in the disputed territory as part of an exercise in preparation for “the West Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea”.
Although the move has been hailed by both sides as progress, critics say the protocol won't stop Chinese expansion in the region.
China's President Xi Jinping and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirm commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula in separate calls with US President Donald Trump ahead of the G20 summit in Germany on July 7.
The USS Stethem destroyer passed less than 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) from tiny Triton Island in the Paracel Islands archipelago, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam, according to a US defense department official.
The USS Dewey destroyer sailed less than 12 nautical miles from a reef claimed by Beijing, which warned the US risked disrupting negotiations between stakeholders in the South China Sea.
The assertion of Philippine sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea signifies an apparent change of tack likely to anger China.
More than half-a-dozen countries have been drawn into an argument over the control of a waterway that serves as an important trade route and is rich in natural resources.
The Chinese seized a US underwater drone in the South China Sea last week and accused Washington of spying on them. Beijing said it would return the drone but the incident could worsen already strained relations between the two countries.
China has seized an unmanned submarine in the disputed South China Sea. US officials say the vessel was collecting scientific data near a naval base in the Philippines.
One phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan's leader risks souring US relations with China, the largest holder of US government debt.
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