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Fish and fuel rows belie South China Sea calm

As Chinese vessels enter their Exclusive Economic Zones, the Philippines and Vietnam respond differently

As China makes its pitch for "a new stage of upgrading" in its relations with Asean, disputes with two member states over fish and fuel are ruffling the apparent calm over the South China Sea.

In the case of the Philippines, this week President Rodrigo Duterte had to defend his decision to allow the Chinese to fish in waters that form part of his country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2019, with the headline 'Fish and fuel rows belie South China Sea calm'. Print Edition | Subscribe