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China has deployed a huge flotilla of "fishing" vessels to intimidate the Philippines in the South China Sea. It's a major escalation of Beijing using its "little blue men" militia to do the navy's dirty work in these contested waters.

Gabriella Turrisi

China makes a big move in the South China Sea

The Philippines on Monday demanded China withdraw a massive fishing fleet — presumably commanded by the Chinese navy — from waters that Manila has exclusive economic rights over in the South China Sea. Beijing, unsurprisingly, denied any involvement. But there's more to the latest milestone in China's increasingly aggressive strategy to assert its claims in one of the world's most disputed waterways.

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