Chinese paper says should prepare for 'South China Sea' armed clash

By Reuters/Ben Blanchard   July 4, 2016 | 06:29 pm PT
Chinese paper says should prepare for 'South China Sea' armed clash
A Chinese Coast Guard vessel passes near the Indonesian Navy vessel KRI Imam Bonjol (L) when it was attempting to detain the fishing boat Han Tan Cou in the waters near Natuna Islands, Riau Islands province, Indonesia, June 17, 2016 in this Indonesian Navy handout photo provided by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Handout/Indonesian Navy/via Reuters
China should prepare itself for military confrontation in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea), an influential Chinese paper said on Tuesday, a week ahead of the July 12 ruling.

Tensions have been rising ahead of a July 12 ruling by an arbitration court hearing the argument between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea) in the Dutch city of The Hague.

In joint editorials in its Chinese and English editions, the state-run Global Times said the dispute, having already been complicated by U.S. intervention, now faces further escalation due to the threat posed by the tribunal to China's sovereignty.

"Washington has deployed two carrier battle groups around the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea), and it wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles: As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China's obedience," it said.

China should speed up developing its military deterrence abilities, the paper added.

"Even though China cannot keep up with the U.S. militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the U.S. pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea) dispute by force," it said.

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

The newspaper is published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, and while it is widely read in policy-making circles it does not have the same mouthpiece function as its parent.

China, which has been angered by U.S. patrols in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea), will be holding military drills in the waters there starting from Wednesday.

About $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year though the energy-rich, strategic waters of the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea), where China's territorial claims overlap in parts with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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