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The Philippines and the U.S. are expanding maritime cooperation, including joint patrols, with one analyst saying Manila's newfound assertiveness could "encourage other Southeast Asian claimants to be more confident in protecting their rights in the South China Sea."   © Illustration by Hiroko Oshima
Asia Insight

Philippines' Marcos muscles up ASEAN's South China Sea posture

China tensions loom over bloc summit as Malaysia asserts gas rights, Vietnam hones defense

CLIFF VENZON and NORMAN GOH, Nikkei staff writers | Philippines

SAN ANTONIO, Philippines/KUALA LUMPUR -- Clad in a bomber jacket, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. climbed into the cabin of a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for a briefing on the American launcher's lethal capabilities.

Later, from an observation tower, he peered into binoculars as another HIMARS fired six rockets at a decommissioned corvette in waters facing the South China Sea, where the Philippines and China are embroiled in a long-standing maritime dispute. The rockets missed, but U.S. and Philippine airstrikes sunk the ship.

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