Britain to Send Warship to Disputed South China Sea

Filipino vows to defend sea resources

The warship will sail through the region after visiting Australia, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told The Australian newspaper.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) conducted an interview with Williamson as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Sydney and Canberra.

While asserting his belief that the Donald Trump White House remains committed to Washington's network of alliances around the world, he added: "The US is looking for other countries to do more. This is a great opportunity for the United Kingdom and Australia to do more, to exercise leadership", he said.

Williamson has also warned that Australia needs to remain vigilant over China's rise. "We've got to have a mature approach to that relationship".

"The Chinese assured us that this is not aimed at the Philippines, that this is not aimed at the neighbouring countries", he said.

'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.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (center) and other Chinese foreign ministry officials return to their meeting with their Philippine counterparts on the second Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on South China Sea in Taguig City Tuesday.

Critics have questioned why the Duterte administration allowed a group from China to undertake scientific research in the waters given Manila's long-simmering territorial conflict with Beijing in the South China Sea.

Citing a joint statement released in November 2017, both sides said "contentious maritime issues are not the sum total of the Philippines-China bilateral relationship". "It's against the principles Western liberal democracies hold dear - free speech, free thought", he said. "I think we have to work hard to keep the Americans engaged and to build relations with Japan and India to counterbalance China's rise".

Latest surveillance photos show that Beijing has almost finished building air and naval bases on the seven islands it has occupied in the Spratly and Paracel island chains in the South China Sea.

Sutherland, which entered service in 1997, has previously been tasked with shadowing Russian navy vessels as they pass through the English Channel, and escorting the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during her first sea trials.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was aware of the comments.

"So we would like to advise Australia to abide by its commitment and stop making irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue".

Philippine security officials raised concerns about intrusions when a Chinese ship was monitored crisscrossing the waters early previous year, drawing public attention to the territory.

The media outlet said "China must take revenge and let it [Australia] know it's wrong".

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