Tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly the entirety of the vital waterway and other littoral states are pushing back, none perhaps more so than the Philippines.

The standoff between the two countries’ maritime forces risks breaking out into open conflict, one that could ensnare other countries, including Japan. Tokyo and other supporters of a rule-based order must stand with Manila against Beijing’s predations nevertheless. Failure to stand up to China now will only encourage other grabs in the future.