SE Asia faces renewed unity test as South China Sea tensions spike

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A surge of tensions in the South China Sea threatens to widen divisions between Southeast Asian nations at a summit this weekend, posing a severe test for host Myanmar as the newly democratic country seeks to manage the region’s growing alarm over China.The routine annual meeting of Southeast Asian leaders has been given a jolt of urgency by a series of collisions this week between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels after China stationed a giant oil rig near the disputed Paracel islands, off Vietnam’s coast. Both sides have blamed the other, and dozens of coastguard and patrol vessels are in the area.Tensions also spiked in another part of the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, with Beijing demanding that U.S. ally the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

For full report read …… http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/09/us-myanmar-asean-idUSBREA4805D20140509

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