China's 'burglars at the bottom of the garden'

History explains why China might be testy about foreign navies circumnavigating its neighbourhood

When the British Royal Navy frigate, HMS Sutherland, sailed north from Australia in February, Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson declared that the ship would soon "assert our values" in the South China Sea.

The implication was that Britain would join the United States in challenging China's rules regarding navigation in this contentious stretch of ocean.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2018, with the headline 'China's 'burglars at the bottom of the garden''. Print Edition | Subscribe