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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, October 20, 2016.

A major ally’s decision to scrap an important military deal with the US raises the stakes in competition with China

China will work to make sure a US loss in the Philippines is its gain, one expert on the region told Business Insider.
A Philippine marine looks through the sights on a US Marine Corps M777 towed 155 mm howitzer at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base in the Philippines, during exercise KAMANDAG 3, October 12, 2019.

A major US ally in the Pacific wants to scrap an important military deal with the US, and that may give China an edge

The Philippines wants to end the Visiting Forces Agreement it has with the US. A similar move in the '90s gave Beijing an edge in the South China Sea.
Nearing port in Hong Kong.

I sailed on a cargo ship from Malaysia to Hong Kong, and it was more luxurious than I ever could have imagined

An eight-day voyage in Southeast Asia on the Amerigo Vespucci, around Singapore and up the South China Sea, is an adventure I'll never forget.
A still from the movie "Abominable" showing a map including China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

Vietnam pulled Dreamworks’ ‘Abominable’ movie because it used a map staking China’s claim over the disputed South China Sea

Vietnam and China have overlapping claims to the South China Sea. People noted that "Abominable" showed China's claim, known as the "nine-dash line."
A US Navy image purportedly showing Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

China is deploying drones to spy on the South China Sea like never before

China is fielding a new far-reaching, drone surveillance network that will give China and improved ability to spy on the South China Sea.
Sailors stand guard at Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, July 26, 2019.

Reports of a secret base deal are raising fears that Beijing is boxing in the South China Sea

Reports of a deal between China and Cambodia over a naval base have stoked concerns about Beijing's ambitions in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) transits the Pacific Ocean with ships assigned to Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 combined task force as part of a photo exercise north of Hawaii.

Philippines’ president calls on US defense pact to back him in a naval fight with Beijing in the South China Sea

The Philippines' firebrand president called on the US to send warships to defend the island nation after a China vessel sank a fishing boat.
USS William P. Lawrence

Firebrand Philippine president pushes the US to send the entire 7th Fleet into the South China Sea

Duterte said if the US wants China out of the South China Sea, it better be prepared to go all in and send the entire 7th Fleet into the waterway.

China has reportedly been practicing sinking ships with missiles in the South China Sea

China is improving its ability to hold ships at risk in the disputed South China Sea, a challenge for a US Navy that is very active in the region.
US Navy destroyers.

It looks like the US has been quietly lowering the threshold for conflict in the South China Sea

The US told the Philippines that attacks by China's paramilitary fishing fleet could trigger US defense obligations to their ally.