Recent developments surrounding the south china sea 2015 electricity increase

FILE – In this May 13, 2018, file photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s indigenous aircraft carrier lifts anchor in Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning Province. The Philippines says it is taking “appropriate diplomatic action” to protect its South China Sea territorial claims, after China landed bombers on one of the islands it controls. China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier completed a round of sea trials, putting it closer to possible deployment in the disputed waterway, while Chinese tourists in Vietnam sparked anger by wearing T-shirts showing their country’s territorial claims, some of which overlap with Hanoi’s. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday the government is committed to protecting “every single inch” of its territory and areas where it has sovereign rights. But it added that its responses to certain developments might not be publicized.

After becoming president nearly two years ago, President Rodrigo Duterte took steps to thaw the Philippines’ frosty ties with China over the sea disputes in an effort to secure Chinese investment, while frequently criticizing the security policies of the United States, his country’s treaty ally.

Duterte refused to immediately demand Chinese compliance with a landmark 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s claims to virtually all of the South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights to vast stretches of waters.

A statement from the Defense Ministry on Friday said the exercise was conducted on an island reef, but it did not specify when or where. The ministry said it involved several H-6K bombers taking off from an air base and simulating strikes against sea targets before landing.

The U.S. criticized the move, with a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, saying in an email that China’s “continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilize the region.”

The Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, using Chinese social media posts, identified the location of the exercise as Woody Island, China’s largest base in the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

The tourists arrived at the Cam Ranh international airport on May 13 and, after going through immigration, took off their coats to reveal T-shirts featuring the so-called “nine-dash line” demarcating Beijing claims, many of which overlap with Vietnam’s own.

In what was seen as the latest example of corporate kowtowing to Beijing, the clothing retailer said it had pulled the shirts from its shelves and destroyed them after becoming aware that they “mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China.”