Navy warship to sail through disputed sea

Protester outside Chinese embassy in Manila Feb. 10

In fact, a closer and more cautious reading suggests that the advances are much more modest than suggested and hide the significant challenges that remain.

An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea April 21, 2017.

Beijing has warned against "stirring up trouble" in the South China Sea after Britain vowed to send a warship through the heart of disputed waters next month. Just $5 a month.

The second Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) meeting between the Philippines and China will take place on Tuesday, February 13, in Manila, confirmed Malacañang.

Duterte, who has revived ties and sought Chinese investment and infrastructure funding after rising to power in 2016, said Chinese officials have assured him China will no longer undertake construction in the Spratlys.

"Currently the South China Sea is calm and tranquil", he added, in response to a question from The Telegraph on the British plans.

China in December defended its construction on disputed islands, which are also claimed by Southeast Asian neighbors, as "normal" after a U.S. think tank released new satellite images showing the deployment of radar and other equipment.

Finally, the DFA said there were intensive discussions on mutually beneficial joint initiatives and consensus on the convening of technical working groups in the areas of fisheries, oil, and gas, marine scientific research, and marine environmental protection, and political security, in the framework of the BCM.

Second, the challenges that lie ahead for any kind of bilateral advance on the South China Sea should not be underestimated. "Both sides had a positive, fruitful and productive meeting".

But other areas like oil and gas will be tougher.

The Philippines has been more careful. A court in The Hague ruled against China's territorial claims and in favor of the Philippines-one of several neighbors opposing China's expansion in the basin.

China claims most of the South China Sea, where $3 billion in sea-borne trade pass every year, and has competing claims in various parts of it with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

"We object and do not recognize the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise", Roque said in a statement, using the name given by the Duterte administration to Benham Rise. "What they'll do, at best, is make more regular forays in the region, doing port calls and engaging in more joint training and exercises to make [their] presence felt and to show support in such manner".

"Australia and Britain see China as a country of great opportunities, but we shouldn't be blind to the ambition that China has and we've got to defend our national security interests", he said.

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