US National Security Advisor John Bolton has accused Beijing of “coercive behavior” in the South China Sea – after the Pentagon boosted its own military drills, passages of warships, and bomber flybys in the region.

Beijing’s “recent escalation of efforts to intimidate others out of developing resources in the South China Sea is disturbing,” Bolton wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. He accused China of “coercive behavior and bullying tactics which threaten regional peace and security.”

Bolton did not specify any incidents in particular, but his tweet appears to indicate that the White House is throwing its weight on the side of the Philippines, whose claims on the South China Sea overlap with China’s. Over the weekend, Manila protested after a Chinese warship sailed through what the Philippines considers a part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – and Beijing a part of its own. (RT)