US deployment of a coastal warship to Singapore may raise Chinese fears of the military superpower’s involvement in South China Sea disputes. The shallow-draft ship “Freedom” will be deployed for 10 months next year. “Freedom” will be first of the four US “Littoral Combat Ships” that Singapore is planning to accommodate in its naval facilities. There are no talks of a basing agreement.

The so-called pivot to the Pacific is one of President Barack Obama’s strategies of “rebalancing” US national security planning after the crisis in the Middle East. In a joint statement, the two countries’ defense secretaries said  the deployment “signals Washington’s commitment to the region and will enhance its ability to train and engage with regional partners.”

The LCS is stationed rotationally in northern Australia and the Philippines. China has territorial disputes with several Asian countries. China is also wary of the US-Philippine military exercises in the midst of tensions over Scarborough Shoal.