China is likely to be high on the agenda at top level U.S.-Philippine security talks on Monday as Washington refocuses its foreign policy on Asia and Manila realises its limits in trying to solve territorial disputes with Beijing alone.
China has maritime spats with several countries in the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas and crossed by important shipping lanes, and its neighbours fear its growing naval reach in staking claims.
Those disputes are pushing the Philippines to seek closer cooperation with the United States, which in turn has prompted China to warn Washington against getting involved, denouncing last week’s U.S.-Philippine military drills as bringing the risk of armed conflict closer.
“I’m sure we need to be diplomatic, but I don’t think we should tip-toe around the Chinese on this,” said Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center with the conservative Washington-based…
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