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China Uninvited in Vietnam-Philippines Beach Party

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To demonstrate their budding alliance in denouncing China’s maritime moves, the Philippine and Vietnamese navies will soon throw a beer and volleyball party in early June on Southwest Cay, and China isn’t among those invited. The get-together will symbolize how once-suspicious neighbors are now working together amid China’s assertiveness in the contested territories, a move which earned the country quite a number of enemies.

Though Philippines and Vietnam themselves have had their own differences. Southwest Cay, the Vietnamese-held remote island in the Spratly archipelago, was cunningly seized from the Philippines by Vietnam in early 1975 when the Philippine naval detachment guarding the area sailed a couple of miles away. Since then, the island has remained under Vietnamese control.

But it seems that the neighbors have now decided to put aside their differences in order to present a united, stronger front against China who is now claiming the whole of Spratlys for itself.

Diplomats and experts believe that Beijing will keep a watchful eye over the Manila-Hanoi rapprochement announcing its warning over the possibility of joint military exercises. While it is unclear whether the budding friendship is on its way to military alliances, the two countries clearly agreed to expand cooperation in the disputed areas, including continued discussions and sharing of assessments about China’s rise and influence.

Both Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi have been following Manila’s move in bringing the territorial dispute matter to the international arbitration tribunal. It is seen that cooperation between Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam will further increase, although it would remain modest.

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