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Southeast Asia Seeks Solution with Beijing after near Sino-US Ship Collision

A near collision between Chinese and U.S. ships in the contested South China Sea has shaken Asian countries whose economies and military security depend on a tense yet nonviolent Sino-U.S. relationship, and has raised the stakes for a deal with Beijing. The USS Decatur came within 40 meters of a Chinese ship in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands September 30, causing the American vessel to change course, media reports say. China claims 90 percent of the sea that's off its south coast, but the United States says other countries have legal rights to use it. On Saturday, defense leaders from the 10-member bloc Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), four of which dispute China’s claims, used a summit in Singapore to seek explanations from Chinese and American participants including U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. Those countries worry that a real collision someday may accelerate Beijing's militarization of the sea...

 

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