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WEEK IN REVIEW: China and the Philippines Inch Closer to Conflict in the South China Sea

A handout from the Philippine military allegedly shows the Chinese coast guard threatening Filipino sailors with weapons. Image via the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

China and the Philippines Inch Closer to Conflict in the South China Sea. Don McLain Gill, a Manila-based geopolitical analyst, said that the situation was now at “a critical juncture” and that “the ball is in the court of the U.S.-Philippines alliance.” (THE DIPLOMAT)

Chinese Premier Li Qiang held talks on Monday with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Canberra, marking the first visit by a Chinese Prime Minister in seven years. The two leaders tried to reconcile security and human rights differences while agreeing to improve military communication.(REUTERS)

Pakistan will create a special police force specifically tasked to protect foreign nationals, a move intended to assuage Chinese fears of further terrorist attacks against its personnel in the country. Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi unveiled the new plan during a meeting on Sunday at the Chinese embassy with Ambassador Jiang Zaidong. (ARAB NEWS)

Niger shut down a new Chinese-built oil pipeline used to export crude through neighboring Benin after a brutal attack on Nigerien security forces guarding the pipeline. No one has claimed responsibility for the assault that killed six soldiers. The Chinese government has not responded to the latest shutdown of the pipeline. (BLOOMBERG)

New Chinese coast guard rules took effect Saturday. Under them, the Coast Guard can detain foreigners for trespassing in the disputed South China Sea, where neighbors and the G7 have accused Beijing of intimidation and coercion. (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)

The Philippine Air Force on Sunday said it will continue to monitor the West Philippine Sea as China starts implementing a policy that would allow the China Coast Guard to detain “foreign trespassers” in the South China Sea. (GMA NEWS)

China said it will take “resolute countermeasures” against “dangerous behavior” as the Chinese coastguard again warned off Manila’s vessels a day before Beijing’s new rule for arresting maritime trespassers came into force(SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

The Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac announced it will invest $100 million in a joint venture with Brazil’s Fiocruz that will focus on vaccine production and the development of cell therapies. Meanwhile, the company called a recently revealed Pentagon-driven COVID-era disinformation campaign against its vaccines “a wrong attack that will create enormous disaster.” (PHARMALETTER)

Chinese Premier Li Qiang starts a three-day official visit to Malaysia today. The trip will commemorate fifty years of diplomatic relations. He will meet with both Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Sultan Ibrahim, the country’s recently inaugurated king. It follows a recent eleven-day visit by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to China. (NEW STRAITS TIMES)

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has requested an anti-dumping probe and possible punitive measures against galvanized steel from China and South Korea. The action follows complaints from Vietnam’s domestic steel producers that five foreign companies are selling cut-price products and damaging local manufacturing. (VN EXPRESS)

A recent surge of online rumours about civil war in the Philippines may be linked to China’s attempts to manipulate public opinion amid the South China Sea conflict, say analysts. This follows the online circulation of a call for southern islands to secede by Pantaleon Alvarez, an ally of the previous president. (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

The Philippines has imposed an additional requirement for Chinese tourists applying for visas amid Beijing’s implementation of a controversial anti-trespassing regulation in the South China Sea(SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

The United States, Canada, Japan, and the Philippines conducted a two-day joint maritime exercise in Manila’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said on its website on Monday(REUTERS)

Chinese Premier Li Qiang wrapped up a six-day Asia-Pacific tour in Malaysia on Thursday. Li’s talks with his Malaysian counterpart, Anwar Ibrahim, focused largely on boosting trade and bolstering rail links between the two countries. Anwar also said Kuala Lumpur also plans to join the BRICS group. (AL JAZEERA)

Newly-inaugurated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming under intense opposition pressure to aggressively confront China on the simmering border dispute. Congress Party leaders spoke out on Wednesday against the PM’s China policy to mark the fourth anniversary of the violent Galwan border clash when 20 soldiers were killed. (DECCAN HERALD)

The Ecuadorian government suspended its visa agreement with China in response to surging illegal immigration by Chinese migrants transiting to the United States. Between January and May of this year, Ecuador recorded 17,808 Chinese nationals entering the country but only 9,966 exiting. (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)

This week’s at sea skirmish between China Coast Guard and the Philippines Navy was not severe enough to invoke the defense treaty between Manila and Washington, observers say. (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

Huddled in the presidential situation room in February last year, senior Philippines officials faced a stark choice. Eduardo Ano, the national security adviser and chair of the South China Sea taskforce, had to decide whether to release the pictures and risk Beijing’s ire, or refrain from aggravating his giant neighbor. (REUTERS)

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