CNN's rare view of contested South China Sea
High above one of the most hotly contested regions in the world, CNN's Ivan Watson was given a rare look at the Chinese government's rapidly expanding militarization of the South China Sea from a US reconnaissance plane.
02:43 - Source: CNN
South China Sea dispute 15 videos
CNN gets rare access on board a US military surveillance flight over the hotly-disputed islands in the South China Sea.
CNN's rare view of contested South China Sea
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A US Navy ship had an "unsafe" interaction with a Chinese warship September 30 while the US vessel was conducting a freedom of navigation operation near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, causing the US ship to maneuver "to prevent a collision," according to US defense officials.
Photos show encounter with Chinese warship
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US Navy plane warned over South China Sea
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Why it's so tense in the South China Sea
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South China Sea: A virtual explainer
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James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense, speaks during the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue Asia Security Summit in Singapore, on Saturday, June 2, 2018. Mattis blasted Chinas deployment of military assets in the South China Sea, expanding the Trump administrations criticism of the country amid a continued dispute over trade. Photographer: Paul Miller/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mattis: America is in the Indo-Pacific to stay
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South China Sea Map
US destroyer sails near China-claimed island
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160612-N-BL637-685 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 12, 2016) A MV-22B Osprey, from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, lifts off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The V-22 Osprey is being tested, evaluated and is slated to be planned replacement for the C-2Q Greyhound as the singular logistics platform on an aircraft carrier for future carrier on-board delivery operations. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Castellano/Released)
US starts 'routine' patrols in South China Sea
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Trump and China: What's at stake?
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Can China help the US deal with North Korea?
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War of words over islands in South China Sea
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Beijing rejects South China Sea ruling
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US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the National Convention Center in Hanoi on May 24, 2016.
Obama, currently on a visit to Vietnam, met with civil society leaders including some of the country's long-harassed critics on May 24. The visit is Obama's first to the country -- and the third by a sitting president since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama: 'Sovereignty should be respected'
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Fishermen caught up in South China Sea tensions
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FILE PHOTO -- The RC-135U Combat Sent, located at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., provides strategic electronic reconnaissance information to the president, secretary of defense, Department of Defense leaders and theater commanders.  (U.S. Air Force photo)
Chinese jet makes 'unsafe' intercept
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