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Chinese warships and fighter jets take part in a military display in the South China Sea on April 12.   © Reuters
The Big Story

How Beijing is winning control of the South China Sea

Erratic US policy and fraying alliances give China a free hand

SIMON ROUGHNEEN, Asia regional correspondent | Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE -- Even by his outspoken standards, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s account of a conversation he had with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, was startling.

During a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing in May 2017, the subject turned to whether the Philippines would seek to drill for oil in a part of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. Duterte said he was given a blunt warning by China’s president.

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