South China Sea

Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia vowed on Friday to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific region "undaunted by coercion" at their first in-person summit, which presented a united front amid shared concerns about China.

The Chinese embassy in Australia rejected on Friday s "unfounded accusations" against China made by the defence and foreign ministers of Australia and their U.S. counterparts after annual talks in Washington.

China and Vietnam should refrain from unilateral actions regarding the South China Sea that could complicate the situation and magnify disputes, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told a Vietnamese official, China's foreign ministry said.

Vietnam, Taiwan and China all claim sovereignty over the Paracels which are now entirely under China’s control.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met Vietnam's top leaders on Wednesday, offering support in several key areas including the enhancement of its maritime security in an effort to counter Beijing's increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

India is sending a naval task force to the South China Sea this month to expand security ties with friendly countries, officials said on Wednesday, signalling its intent to play a bigger role in regional efforts to counter China.

Germany on Monday sent a warship to the South China Sea for the first time in almost two decades, joining other Western nations in expanding its military presence in the region amid growing alarm over China's territorial ambitions.

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