Reuters reports an arbitration court in The Hague will rule on Tuesday in a dispute about the South China Sea in which the Philippines is challenging China’s right to exploit resources across vast swathes of the strategic territory. China has boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, saying it does not have jurisdiction to decide on the matter. The ruling stands to further ramp up tensions in the region, where China’s increased military assertiveness has spread concern among its smaller neighbors and is a point of confrontation with the United States. The United States and China regularly conduct military exercises in the area, which is of vital interest to both Beijing and Washington, and have accused each other of provocations as recently as last month.
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