"China has crossed a new threshold," writes Andrew Browne. "It once found it necessary to justify its assertive actions in the South China Sea within a broad framework of legality — however flimsy, contrived or contested its formulation of law appeared to the U.S. and its allies…. This time it hardly bothered with a legal rationale."
In another possible sign of a diplomatic turn toward China, the Philippines announces that it will no longer participate in joint patrols with the U.S. in the South China Sea
The Philippine defense secretary also said that U.S. troops would be asked to leave a southern island where they provide counterterrorism assistance, part of a broader strategy by new president Rodrigo Duterte to decrease the nation's dependence on the U.S. and forge stronger alliances with countries such as China and Russia.
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