China brushes off Vietnam's protests
HANOI • China yesterday dismissed Vietnamese condemnation of its military live-fire exercises in the disputed South China Sea, saying it was acting within its sovereign rights.
China had conducted the drills around the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam claims, prompting Vietnam to say it would "resolutely protect" its "legitimate rights" through peaceful means.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing that China had done nothing wrong. "We hope the relevant side can regard the drills calmly and reasonably," he said, without elaborating. China claims nearly all of the sea, through which an estimated US$3 trillion (S$4.1 trillion) in trade passes each year.
Philippines joins forces with MILF against ISIS
DATU SALIBO (Philippines) • The Philippine military said it has teamed up with old foes behind a long-running Muslim insurgency as it looks to eject a breakaway gang of radical militants pledging loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
As artillery shells and rockets pounded targets nearby, soldiers were seen mingling with several hundred Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters who have joined an assault on gunmen in the restive southern island of Mindanao.
The joint operation is the latest tactic by the Philippine government to try to stamp out pro-ISIS fighters, after months of battling a separate faction of militants who have besieged the city of Marawi.