US: South China Sea tension ‘a little’ toned down


MANILA, Philippines — The territorial row between China and its neighbors, including the Philippines, over the South China Sea has become less intense in the past weeks, the US Department of State said Friday.

Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson, confirmed the observation that rival claimants have “toned down,” not exchanging statements asserting their claims and not making moves that would escalate the tension.

Harf said that the department noted the disputes to have been “a little different” the past days.

“I would take a little – I mean, we’ve seen China actually increasingly take steps that have led to tension and we believe are destabilizing and trying to change the status quo,” Harf said.

China has removed its contentious oil rig in Vietnam-claimed waters near the Paracel Islands, saying the commercial operations have already completed.

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