WASHINGTON (AP) — THE ISSUE: Tensions have been rising between China and the United States. China is modernizing its military and pressing its sovereignty claims over the disputed South China Sea, an important route for global trade. The U.S. is pushing back by increasing its military presence in Asia, which China views as provocative. The U.S. also accuses China of unfair trading practices and cyber theft of business secrets. Tough action by either side could spark a skirmish at sea or a trade war that would make many goods in the U.S. more expensive.
BEIJING (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential gas and oil reserves: