Beijing Must Be Ready for Military Confrontation in South China Sea: Daily

Beijing Must Be Ready for Military Confrontation in South China Sea: Daily
Tue Jul 5, 2016 14:17:31

A prominent Chinese daily run by the state says Beijing should be ready for potential “military confrontation” in the South China Sea as an international court is due to decide in a case over a territorial row between the Philippines and China next week.

Regional tensions are slightly rising as an arbitration court in The Hague is due to announce a ruling on July 12 in a dispute between Beijing and Manila over territory in the South China Sea.

This photo, released on June 19, 2016 by the US Navy, shows a flight formation of Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Philippine Sea. (Via AFP)

The state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times said in joint editorials in its Chinese and English editions on Tuesday that the situation faces further escalation due to the potential threat posed by the ruling to China’s sovereignty.

The paper, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said that the dispute has already been aggravated by US meddling.

“Washington has deployed two carrier battle groups around the South China Sea, and it wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles: As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China’s obedience,” the Global Times said.

China has long-standing disputes over maritime territory in the energy-rich, strategic waters of South China Sea with other regional states such as Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Washington has sided with China’s rivals in the territorial dispute, with Beijing accusing the US of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

The Chinese newspaper also stressed that Beijing should accelerate developing its military deterrence capabilities.

“Even though China cannot keep up with the US militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force,” it added.

“China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks, but it must be prepared for any military confrontation. This is common sense in international relations.”

China has already said it will not be bound by the court ruling. However, Beijing seemed to move to compromise over the dispute with the Philippines on Monday, when the official China Daily said Beijing is ready to negotiate “issues such as joint development and cooperation in scientific research if the new government (in Manila) puts the tribunal’s ruling aside.”

This photo released on June 19, 2016 by the US Navy shows a flight formation from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and 9 above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Philippine Sea. (Via AFP)

The Chinese military is set to begin drills near disputed islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday and will continue them until July 11.

The official China Daily has quoted China’s Defense Ministry as saying that the exercises are routine.

US officials have voiced concern that the international court ruling could prompt China to declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

The Chinese response will “fully depend” on the Philippines, the daily quoted sources as saying but did not name them.

“There will be no incident at all if all related parties put aside the arbitration results,” one of the sources told the English-language daily newspaper.

Another source said, “China has never taken a lead in… stirring up regional tensions.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines has sought to reduce tensions with China ahead of the verdict but resisted pressure to ignore the ruling.

“The reality is that nobody wants a conflict, nobody wants to resolve our conflict in a violent manner, nobody wants war,” the Philippines’ Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told ANC television on Tuesday.

He said a “special envoy” may be necessary to help resolve the dispute with China.

S/SH 11

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