U.S. displays military muscle in the South China Sea

USS John S. Mc Cain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea

The U.S. Navy has deployed warships to the region at least twice this year.

"What the United States is doing will damage the military-to-military relations and atmosphere".

The United States is not alone in carrying out naval patrols in the strategic waterway, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate, possibly increasing tensions and risking accidents at sea.

Ren gave no details, although his statement was a reply to a question about whether China's deployments were a response to missions by the U.S. Navy to challenge Beijing's claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.

China has consistently maintained that large portions of the South China Sea are part of its territorial waters, and the drills have anxious some countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.

"The Americans are our friends".

The Chinese Defense Ministry Friday it will conduct combat drills in the South China Sea in the near future, possibly including the nation's only operational aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

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Washington doesn't take a formal position on sovereignty claims in the area but regards the South China Sea largely as global waters in which its navy has the right to operate within legal confines.

"We're trying to see if we can achieve an agreement, hopefully within the next couple of months", Jose Santiago Santa Romana, Philippine ambassador to the People's Republic of China, told a news conference held on China's island province of Hainan.

"China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, pursue a national defense policy that is defensive in nature and a military strategy of active defense, " he added.

Sta. Romana compared the two powers to elephants fighting and trampling on the grass and said, "What we don't want is for us to be the grass". China also allowed Filipino fishermen back into disputed Scarborough Shoal after Duterte visited Beijing and raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.

Rear Admiral Steve Koehler, the strike group commander, instructed a small group of reporters on board the three-decade-old service: "We have got seen Chinese language language ships spherical us".

Even with China continually on edge, the USA has reaffirmed that it will continue to not only keep a noticeable presence, but also conduct necessary drills as needed.

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