Ex-admiral: US should defend reef off Philippines
(Associated Press) - July 14, 2016 - 8:52am

WASHINGTON — A former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific says the U.S. should be willing to use military force to oppose Chinese aggression at a disputed reef off the coast of the Philippines.

Dennis Blair has made the recommendation to a Senate panel Wednesday, a day after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's expansive claims in the South China Sea.

Blair says the objective is not to pick a fight with China at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, but to set a limit on its military coercion.

The Philippines is a U.S. ally but their treaty is ambiguous about whether the U.S. would come to its defense in disputed territory.

A 2012 standoff at Scarborough Shoal between China and the Philippines prompted Manila to launch the arbitration case.

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