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Secretary of Defense Expresses Concern
By Harold Hutchison

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is worrying about a potential conflict in the South China Sea as China ramped up its pressure on the Philippines. The worries come in the midst of an increase in incidents as the ChiComs move on territorial disputes in Asia.

The president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, recently was disinvited from an event in China to promote trade with ASEAN. The Philippines have been trying to re-build their military to defend against possible military action by China. Other ASEAN members have claimed that the ChiComs are taking more aggressive actions in the South China Sea.

The United States is pivoting its strategy towards Asia and the Pacific. Hagel, who is on a trip to southeast Asia, had earlier announced the sale of eight AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters to Indonesia.