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Duterte warns he'll order navy to fire if sea wealth taken

14 February 2018

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed HMS Sutherland will enter the waters in a bold move to demonstrate the sea is worldwide waters.

"If not provocation, the Royal Navy should behave modestly when passing through the South China Sea", it said in editorials published in its English and Chinese-language editions.

At the same time, Williamson didn't specify whether the frigate would sail near the China-controlled islands, a move usually practiced by the United States that comes under criticism from Beijing.

The Philippines and China reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and over flight above the South China Sea (SCS), freedom of global commerce, and other peaceful uses of the sea.

He said: "World dynamics are shifting so greatly". The US can only concentrate on so many things at once, " Mr Williamson added.

The Defence Secretary also warned that Australia needs to remain vigilant over China's rise.

"I think we've always got to be vigilant to any form of malign intent".

'The US is looking for other countries to do more.

"We've got to ensure that any form of malign intent is countered and we see increasing challenges - it's not just from China, it's from Russian Federation, it's from Iran - and we've got to be constantly making sure that our security measures, our critical national infrastructure is protected".

Critics have questioned why the Duterte administration allowed a group from China to undertake scientific research in the waters given Manila's long-simmering territorial conflict with Beijing in the South China Sea.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippines and China had a frank, cordial, exchange of views on issues of concern on the South China Sea. Both sides touted progress they had made following the meeting, with the Philippines eager to demonstrate that it is successfully managing this aspect of ties despite domestic and worldwide criticism, and China looking to once again advance its "cooling down" narrative in the South China Sea into 2018 (See: "Beware the Illusion of South China Sea Calm"). "It's against the principles Western liberal democracies hold dear - free speech, free thought", he said. "Australia is not directly involved in the South China Sea issue", said China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.

Beijing has repeatedly accused countries outside the region - typically a reference to Washington and Tokyo - of trying to provoke trouble in the South China Sea as China and its neighbors work to resolve the matter via a diplomatic approach.

"So we would like to advise Australia to abide by its commitment and stop making irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue".

The media outlet said "China must take revenge and let it [Australia] know it's wrong".

Duterte warns he'll order navy to fire if sea wealth taken