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China's vulnerability in the South China Sea

Beijing's actions in this arena are those of a state that feels its weakness in its nuclear defence capability and its dependence on open sea routes for its energy supply.

US Navy sailors taking part in a medical-training exercise on board the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen in the South China Sea on Oct 28. The first of US "freedom-of-navigation" patrols was Washington's most significant challenge yet to China's claims to islands in the area.

THE developing situation in the South China Sea continues to escalate. The American ambassador to China has been called in for a dressing-down by the foreign ministry in Beijing after a long-awaited freedom-of-navigation exercise by the US Navy was conducted within 12 nautical miles of