BEIJING - China's top newspaper accused the Philippines of orchestrating a plot to deliberately stir up tensions over the disputed South China Sea, and warned that Beijing's patience should not be mistaken for weakness.

The Philippines may ask the United States to deploy spy planes over the area to help monitor its waters, President Benigno Aquino told Reuters on Monday, a move that could worsen tensions with its giant neighbor China.

China and the Philippines only recently stepped back from a months-long standoff at the Scarborough Shoal, a horseshoe-shaped reef near the Philippines in waters they both claim - the latest round of naval brinkmanship over the resource-rich sea.

China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia all have competing claims in the South China Sea, but China's claims encompass almost all its waters.

A commentary in Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily on Tuesday said the Philippines was once more planning to stoke tensions over the issue at a key regional security summit starting later this week in Cambodia.

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