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Freedom in the air

South China Sea

Asean Summit

Sea row overshadows talks

China yesterday vowed "clear and firm reactions" to defend its interests in the South China Sea but rejected suggestions of aggression, as America's top diplomat urged restraint from all claimants to the bitterly contested waters. A series of incidents between Beijing and several other nations with territorial claims to the sea has sent tensions soaring across Southeast Asia and spurred Washington to call for a halt to any activities that could worsen regional maritime relations. Animosity over the South China Sea,...

US asks China, Vietnam to get ships out of disputed sea

US asks China, Vietnam to get ships out of disputed sea

China and Vietnam should withdraw their vessels and oil rig from the disputed waters in the South China Sea to make room for diplomacy to reduce the escalating tensions, the United States has said. "We do have a problem with blanket assertions by both Vietnam and China that their claims are indisputable," Daniel Russel,...

China 'destabilising' region: US

China 'destabilising' region: US

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday warned China against "destabilising actions" in the South China Sea, and backed Japan's plans to take on a more muscular military role as a counterweight to Beijing. Stressing US commitments to allies and friends in Asia, Hagel called for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes and issued a...

China denounces US-Japan speeches

China denounces US-Japan speeches

China has denounced the Japanese PM and US defence secretary for making "provocative" speeches against China at an Asian security forum in Singapore. Chinese army general Wang Guanzhong said Chuck Hagel and Shinzo Abe's comments at the Shangri-La Dialogue were "unacceptable". Hagel had earlier said China was "destabilising" the South China Sea. Meanwhile, Japan's PM Shinzo...

US says China 'destabilising' force

US says China 'destabilising' force

The US defence secretary has accused China of "destabilising" the South China Sea, saying its action threatened the region's long-term progress. Chuck Hagel said the US would "not look the other way" when nations ignored international rules. Hagel was speaking at a three-day summit - the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore - that involves the US...

China sends pandas to Malaysia

China sends pandas to Malaysia

Two pandas from China have arrived in Malaysia as Beijing looks to build ties amid regional tensions. The eight-year-old pandas will be housed in a 1.6 hectare air-conditioned complex at the national zoo. China agreed to loan them to Malaysia to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties this year. China uses panda-diplomacy to sweeten ties with Malaysia. From 02GMT #BBCNewsday checks out their new enclosure pic.twitter.com/uI3LfbYMjp— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) May 21, 2014 But Beijing postponed their delivery because of disagreements over the Malaysian authorities' handling of the disappearance of flight MH370. Most of the passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines plane were Chinese, and their relatives have accused the authorities of mishandling the...

South China Sea disputes dominate Asean summit

South China Sea disputes dominate Asean summit

Surging maritime tensions dominated a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders yesterday with Vietnam expected to call on its regional neighbours for support in its deepening territorial dispute with China. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is convening just days after both Vietnam and the Philippines locked horns with China in contested waters,...

Malaysia considers tip that MH370 may be in Bay of Bengal

Malaysia considers tip that MH370 may be in Bay of Bengal

Days after authorities dismissed the idea that MH370 may be in the Bay of Bengal, a top Malaysian official said Friday he is considering the possibility of sending a ship there, CNN reports. Acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the tip could only be confirmed by sending vessels to the area, which is thousands...

MH370 co-pilot made mid-air phone call: Report

MH370 co-pilot made mid-air phone call: Report

A crew member of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 made a desperate call from his mobile phone as the plane was flying low near Penang, the morning it went missing, reports The New Straits Times today. The latest breakthrough in the ongoing criminal investigation traced the source of the call to co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's...

Philippine vessel evades Chinese ships in disputed waters

A Philippine re-supply ship evaded a Chinese coastguard blockade in the South China Sea yesterday to reach Filipino soldiers based on a remote reef claimed by both countries, the military said. The dramatic, two-hour stand-off witnessed by the AFP was the latest in a rapid-fire series of escalations in a dispute between the two countries over their competing claims to waters and islands close to Philippine landmass. Yesterday's incident took place at Second Thomas Shoal, where a small number of Filipino...

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