But note that the US confined itself to a specific disputed sea area: the Paracels contested by only China (and Taiwan by extension) and Vietnam. This area is also where civilian shipping traffic is heaviest, especially the oil tankers to-ing and fro-ing Japanese ports. It is a flashpoint -- with no US treaty allies involved (not yet anyway, but I am sure Japan is keenly watching this particular spat).
US concerns over the Paracels are mirrored in the more complicated disputed area -- the Spratlys -- involving many parties including one ASEAN member that is a US treaty ally. The US has been careful to express solidarity with the Philippines and even to boost bilateral security cooperation while repeating the mantra that Washington takes no position on ownership status in the South China Sea (ie, both the Paracels and the Spratlys) disputes.
But Hillary Clinton. in her recent book, drew the line in the sand, or water, as it were:
This position still stands, ie, it is a US "national interest" to ensure that there is freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China knows this very well. Has anyone seen any official Chinese statement that the famous nine dashed lines will enclose a Chinese lake? That may well be the intention (as part of its "core interest"?) but when pressed each time, China has never said it will interfere with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, the game continues:
But this ST story below seemed to downplay an important development...
The Chinese reclamations in the small islets that are in the current spotlight pale in comparison to what is taking place at Fiery Cross Reef:
Taken together, Fiery Cross (once it is built up to full military capability) and Taiwan's Itu Aba (Taiping) island will form a pincer. That assumes, of course, that China and Taiwan work hand in hand on their South China Sea claims. That has not happened.
So what is a dork?
I would suggest to the actress Charlize Theron that she finds out what a dork is before she claims to be one!
Finally, figure this out!
(Note: It is meant to be answered by primary school kids)
My fellow Singaporeans... please note too that the Hong Kongers have got one thing right: they say "parking spots", NOT "parking lots"!