Duterte will 'go to war' if China crosses 'red lines'

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"That's the way we do business in the world, but we're also going to confront what we believe is out of step with global law, out of step with worldwide tribunals that have spoken on the issue", he said.

"It's clear that Xi wanted to follow up that last event to showcase his control over the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), including his promise and call for the PLA to heighten combat readiness in the South China Sea", Dr Collin Koh Swee Lean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore, told VnExpress.

"It is made to appear that the Duterte administration messed up the situation in the West Philippine Sea, South China Sea".

"This administration does not and will not abandon the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea disputes", he stressed. "China's landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island has also raised tensions", Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told reporters then.

He said Duterte has chose to temporarily shelve the tribunal ruling "in line with the efforts of government at promoting peace, stability, and cordial relations among claimant countries in the region".

US officials say the freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) are regularly scheduled and occur globally.

Mattis said on Tuesday that the United States would pushback against what it sees as China's militarization of islands in the South China Sea, despite drawing condemnation from Beijing for an operation in the region over the weekend. The FONOP angered China, which considers the body of water as part of its domain.

"We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs), as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future", U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

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As Mattis states, there's "only one country" that seems to be resentful of, and emphasize its opposition to, the maintenance of free and open trade lanes.

"It's global waters, and a lot of nations want to see freedom of navigation, so we'll continue that", Mattis said.

But he said it was unfair to single out China for its advanced militarization in the South China Sea.

He contrasted the U.S. Navy's FONOPs with opaque Chinese behavior.

Hua also questioned whether U.S. Navy "freedom of navigation" operations were really about preserving the right for ships to sail through the region or an attempt to maintain hegemony. "We've very open about them, and report them", he said.

"Chinese military took immediate actions by dispatching naval ships and aircrafts to conduct legal identification and verification of the U.S. warships and warn them off", Wu Qian, defense ministry spokesman, said in a statement released to the media.

Eight senators signed Senate Resolution 761 that also urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a diplomatic protest against China for its recent actions in the disputed waters. "If there is more than one country militarizing, and it's not only the islands, if huge navies are sailing through the area, is that not militarization?" he said.

The President has already mentioned that.