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U.S., China Strategize Over South China Sea

The New York Times reports from aboard the U.S.S. Chancellorsville, in the South China Sea: “Here in the hot azure waters off the Spratly and Paracel Islands — which encompass reefs, banks and cays — the United States and China are jockeying for dominance in the Pacific. From Mischief Reef, where China is building a military base in defiance of claims by Vietnam and the Philippines, to Scarborough Shoal, where the Chinese are building and equipping outposts on disputed territory far from the mainland, the two naval forces are on an almost continuous state of alert.”  

“Although the South China Sea stretches some 500 miles from mainland China, Beijing has claimed most of it. Tensions have risen sharply, and the topic is expected to dominate President Obama’s meeting in Washington this week with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.”  

“America’s goal is to keep the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, open to all maritime traffic. But administration officials are increasingly worried that tensions will only deepen if an arbitration panel in The Hague rules as expected in the coming months on a 2013 case brought by the Philippines, which has accused China of making an ‘excessive claim’ to most of the sea.”

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