Philippines says it told China of 'red lines' in sea feud

U.S. Navy: Chinese warships maneuvered in

"He stated that they would not be militarizing the islands, we have seen in the last month they have done exactly that, moving weaponry in that was never there before", Mattis said.

A statement on the Chinese defence ministry's website said the class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins and Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam entered waters China claims in the Paracel island group "without the permission of the Chinese government".

President Duterte is ready to declare war on China or any other country over Philippine sovereignty in the South China Sea, his Foreign Secretary has said.

In May, the Chinese military landed nuclear-capable bombers on their artificial islands for the first time.

"This is necessary for trade, the preservation of the livelihood of the fisherfolk, and the timely delivery of basic necessities of the community in the Municipality of Pag-asa", Esperon added.

Mattis said Chinese President Xi Jinping had broken the promise he made at the White House in 2015 in regards to his country's actions in the region.

REFUTING domestic criticism that of its soft stance on China's militarisation of the South China Sea, the Philippines said it was prepared to go to war with the country if any of its military personnel are harmed in the disputed waters.

He said the government was merely looking for a "proper time" to take "full advantage" of the arbitral ruling. China denied the court ruling and argued that the tribunal had no jurisdiction in the case. This would allow more space for geopolitical maneuvering while facilitating Vietnam's Doi Moi policy of opening up and furthering worldwide economic integration, he said.

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The Philippine government has quietly protested after Chinese ships deployed a helicopter that flew "dangerously close" to a Philippine navy boat carrying supplies to Filipino marines based in a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, two officials said Wednesday.

Mattis said USA ships are maintaining a "steady drumbeat" of naval operations and will confront "what we believe is out of step with worldwide law". "But we're also going to confront what we believe is out of step with worldwide law and out of step with global tribunals that have spoken on the issue, and part of this is we maintain a very transparent military activity out in the Pacific", Mattis said.

He added that the area was regarded as global waters and many countries wanted to exercise their freedom of navigation.

"Our diplomats are robustly engaged on this", Mattis said.

In recent months, China has dramatically bolstered its military presence in the South China Sea.

He is stopping in Hawaii to mark a change in leadership at US Pacific Command.

The current head, Admiral Harry Harris, has been nominated to be the new ambassador to South Korea.

National security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the Philippine government has been monitoring China's reported deployment of missiles and landing of Chinese military aircraft on Woody Islands in the Paracels. He will be replaced by Admiral Philip Davidson.

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