South China Sea Tensions: ‘War’ Could Erupt If US Doesn’t Stop Meddling, China State Paper Says
If it’s war the Unites States wants, it’s a war it will get. This in a nutshell summarizes the warning an editorial written in a China state paper sent to the U.S.
“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it,” an editorial in The Global Times said. Owned by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, The Global Times is one of the leading nationalist tabloids in China.
China on Monday had lodged a complaint against the U.S. after a spy plane of the latter flew over the controversial islands in the highly disputed South China Sea. China said it owns more than 80 percent of the islands and reefs in the area. Other claimants include Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, a U.S. ally.
The U.S. reconnaissance plane flew over one of the reefs in the South China Sea where Beijing was doing construction work. “The close reconnaissance conducted by the U.S. military aircraft of China’s maritime features is highly likely to cause miscalculation and untoward incidents in the waters and airspace, and is utterly dangerous and irresponsible,” Xinhua News quoted Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, during Monday’s daily press briefing. China had read the presence of the reconnaissance plane as a “provocation.”
Dennis Etler, a professor of anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, interviewed by Press TV, likewise believed the behavior of the U.S. when it dispatched the spy plane was “unwarranted.” Ma Zhaoxu, China’s ambassador to Australia, in an op-ed published in The West Australian on Tuesday, said “freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been a problem” until Japan and the U.S. stoked fears among its neighbors. Ma added China holds a “solid and legal basis” to claim the South China Sea islands, describing them as “indisputable.”
The Global Times warned the U.S. “If the United States’ bottomline is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said. “The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’.”
Observers believed U.S. interest in the South China Sea controversy meant to contain China’s rising power, as an assessment released by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in April has revealed that American power and influence in Asia is declining.