Reuters: U.S., China set for high-stakes rivalry in skies above South China Sea

When the U.S. navy sent a littoral combat ship on its first patrol of the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea during the past week, it was watching the skies as well.

The USS Fort Worth, one of the most modern ships in the U.S. navy, dispatched a reconnaissance drone and a Seahawk helicopter to patrol the airspace, according to a little-noticed statement on the navy's website.

While the navy didn't mention China's rapid land reclamation in the Spratlys, the ship's actions were a demonstration of U.S. capabilities in the event Beijing declares an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the area - a move experts and some U.S. military officials see as increasingly likely.

WNU Editor: John Kerry probably knows that everyone in Asia is looking at him and on how the U.S. will handle this dispute .... and that failure to address the issue will have consequences .... especially with U.S. allies. My prediction .... the Chinese are going to test him to see how far the U.S. is committed on this issue.

More News On The U.S. - China South China Sea Dispute

South China Sea Dispute Likely Focus of Kerry China Visit -- VOA
Kerry Will Take Tough Approach in China Over South China Sea: State -- NBC
On eve of Kerry visit, China chides US over South China Sea -- AP
US to ask China to stop land reclamations in S China Sea -- Want China Times
US keeps hard line on China’s Spratly Islands territory claim -- The Australian
Beijing says Philippines, U.S. 'exaggerate China threat' in sea dispute -- Reuters
Chinese ambassador: US has no right to intervene in China's legitimate activities in S. China Sea -- CCTV
Tension rising in South China Sea -- Globe and Mail

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