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US Ambassador Woody Johnson tweeted: “We welcome the UK joining us and other allies in calling out China’s unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea. The UK its considering sending one of its two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea. HMS Queen Elizabeth may embark on its first mission next year to the disputed South China Sea region.
The move would risk exacerbating UK-Chinese relations and increase the tension in the South China Sea.
Yesterday, an Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that was in Indonesian territorial waters.
The Chinese vessel claimed it was actually at the southernmost part of China’s disputed South China Sea territorial claim.
About the incident, Aan Kurnia, chief of the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency said: “We asked them to move out as it was Indonesia’s EEZ.
“But they insisted that it is China’s nine-dash- line territory.
“Our officers at the vessel argued with them until they moved out.
“The Chinese coast guard vessel finally left the North Natuna Sea on Monday at 11.20am.”
China is claiming all of the vast resource-rich maritime region within their designated ‘nine-dash line’ as their own sovereign territory.
They have barred other ships from entering the region.
But the whole nine-dash line region infringes on the territorial waters of many countries including the Philippines and Indonesia.
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The Southeast Asian nations are implementing a South China Sea Code of Conduct with Beijing.
This has alarmed Western nations who do not want Beijing to enforce a ban on other countries entering the international waters within the South China Sea.
The Philippines have been quick to allay US and UK fears about the South China Sea Code.
The nation said the code won’t lead to western countries being excluded from the South China Sea.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said: “I can swear to you, Western powers will be in the South China Sea.
Mr Locsin added: “We believe in the balance of power, that the freedom of the Filipino people depends on the balance of power in the South China Sea.”
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