Diplomats briefed on latest Western intelligence assessments say Beijing is pursuing efforts to dominate its maritime 'backyard.'
The move will be Tokyo's biggest show of naval force in the region since World War II.
China has sent civilian visitors to the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam claims sovereignty over.
There are 31 hostages currently being held by Abu Sayyaf.
U.S. Navy leaders were reportedly considering freedom of navigation patrols near the territory claimed by China.
Beijing faces a risk of a short-lived victory as "Trump will not want to be seen as having caved in.'
The Washington and Florida meetings represent Abe's latest move to strengthen Japan's longstanding U.S. alliance in the face of China's rise.
China has been upset by previous comments from the new U.S. administration about the disputed waterway.
The comments at a briefing from White House spokesman Sean Spicer signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China's assertive pursuit of territory claims in Asia.
Trump downplayed the call he took from Taiwan's President Tsai.
Donald Trump earlier accused China of stealing the vessel.
China has the capacity to hit back hard on both trade and security.
China accuses the U.S. of 'hyping' the issue, and Donald Trump calls actions 'unprecedented.'
Despite its rival claim to the Spratly Islands, Manila will not issue any diplomatic protest to China.
Comments by the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet threaten to escalate tensions.
It was the latest move by the Communist state to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway that China claims as its own.
Clinton's remark "Women's rights are human rights; human rights are women's rights" was quickly censored.
Vietnam's relations with the U.S. have quickly expanded in the wake of the escalating South China Sea dispute, putting the Philippines in an unexpectedly isolated position.
The exercise will focus on control of the waters despite a U.N. ruling against China.
Some think China is preparing an "air defense identification zone" over the South China Sea.