Regional spats increase

Clashes in the South and East China Seas have escalated significantly over the past two years, with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam accusing Beijing of upsetting regional stability by aggressively claiming disputed territories and waters

US warship sails near island claimed by China

Freedom of navigation operations becoming more politically charged

FT View

This combo shows handout photo taken on December 13, 2014 (top) and on April 2, 2015 (bottom) by satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe and released to AFP by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative department at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSSI) think tank of satellite images of a general view of what is claimed to be an under-construction airstrip and the progress of the construction in just four months, at the top end of Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea. China is building an airstrip on reclaimed land in a disputed part of the South China Sea, recent satellite pictures show, potentially raising tensions with several Southeast Asian neighbours. AFP PHOTO / MANDATORY CREDIT: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative / DigitalGlobe -----EDITORS NOTE---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- MANDATORY CREDIT -- "AFP PHOTO / CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative / DigitalGlobe" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVESDIGITALGLOBE/AFP/Getty Images ©AFP
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