Firm response to meet US sea provocation

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-14 0:33:01

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that "the US military is considering using aircraft and navy ships to directly contest Chinese territorial claims to a chain of rapidly expanding artificial islands," according to the newspaper's sources in the US government. Although still pending in the White House, the new plan will authorize navy surveillance aircraft to fly over the islands and send vessels to within 12 nautical miles of reefs.

Many comments from Western media have sensed the rising tensions between China and the US, because if such an aggressive plan is approved, it will create huge waves in the South China Sea and a confrontation between both sides can hardly be avoided.

China's land reclamation on islands in the South China Sea is legitimately appropriate. Not only because the work is conducted on islands that are in the de facto administration of China, but because other claimants such as the Philippines and Vietnam have been engaged in the same endeavor.

Washington raises cynical concerns that China is expanding these islands for military purposes, despite China's reiteration that it is only for peaceful purposes, such as offering humanitarian shelter for passing ships in the typhoon season, including US vessels.

If Washington takes this dangerous step, it will be nothing but a blatant infringement of China's sovereignty, and the US can expect potent countermeasures. If it gets worse, the South China Sea will see a showdown between China and the US.

China values the peace and stability of the South China Sea more than anyone else,  because it is in China's fundamental national interest. China keeps avoiding the escalation of the territorial and maritime disputes into the geopolitical primary issue, and trying to scale back the tensions by launching reciprocal economic projects, which can create conditions for talks. So far, with effective risk control, physical confrontations will be unlikely to occur among the claimants.

But if it ventures to violate the bottom line, the US will make the South China Sea a powder keg. Washington will be too naive to think that China will exercise forbearance and self-restraint in that scenario. It should keep in mind that China is a major power with nuclear weapons, and there is no way that US forces can take reckless actions in the South China Sea. Considering China's proximity to this area and determination to defend its sovereignty, the US, although equipped with the strongest military forces, will stand no chance of overwhelming China. Besides, the long-term chaos will eventually deprive the US of its patronage to other countries in the region, which will only be victimized by the war.

China has no intention to be a challenger, but it won't evade any challenges over its territorial sovereignty from the US. We would like to suggest that Washington thinks twice before it does an about-face of its Asia-Pacific policy.

Posted in: Editorial

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