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The South China Sea Crisis is Fast Approaching a Dangerous Tipping Point

Chinese coast guard ship blocking a Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' ship while its personnel aboard a rigid hull inflatable boat sailing past the Philippine ship as it neared the Chinese-controlled Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea. Ted ALJIBE / AFP

The reactions to Sunday’s at-sea collisions between Chinese and Philippines maritime forces reveal a very worrisome trend in what’s fast becoming one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

While the incidents were both minor, more like gentle bumps than violent collisions, the responses, though, from Manila, Beijing, and Washington were nonetheless unequivocal — no one is going to concede anything.

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