Thursday, October 6, 2011

China - "The time to use force has arrived in the South China Sea"

On October 3, UPI reported that China's Global Times newspaper had this story:

"The time to use force has arrived in the South China Sea; Let's wage wars on the Philippines and Vietnam to prevent more wars. The South China Sea is the best place for China to wage wars," the article said. "Of the more than 1,000 oil rigs there, none belongs to China; of the four airfields in the Spratly Islands, none belongs to China; once a war is declared, the South China Sea will be a sea of fire [with burning oil rigs]. Who will suffer the most from a war? Once a war starts there, the Western oil companies will flee the area, who will suffer the most?" The article also argued that the United States wouldn't intervene, too preoccupied with its war on terror, its quagmire in Afghanistan and its own economic problems.

UPI describes GT as
China's main newspaper for international affairs, widely distributed internationally in English, and is published under the authority of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party
However preliminary searches of the GT site do not show the article - but this piece on "Patience and Peace" was available. It concludes "Strategically waiting until the timing becomes favorable is not a sign of weakness but prudence. It's not until all diplomatic procedures have been exhausted that China should be contemplating military intervention". Which is really a not much more subtle form of the reported GT headline (although they are different stories). MIL INT will run this to ground asap.

Update: The UPI story is not on GT in the form quoted by UPI. MIL INT figured it might be a case of putting something out, then walking it back (classic Sino-stratcom). GT is a kind of Chinese "National Enquirer" that runs a series of completely over the top Op-Eds that are pretty amusing to read.
Time to Teach Those Around CSC A Lesson seems closest in rhetoric to the UPI article. US arms sales deserve substantial retaliation is a particular treat with its adolescent anger intermixed with awkward english - to wit "China can also slash the imports from the US side, leading to the loss of unemployment no lower than the working positions created by the arms sales."
China must react to Vietnam's provocation berates the southern communist neighbor for "occupying" 29 Chinese islands, and so on.
Vietnam has been taking risky actions in the South China Sea for some time. It has occupied 29 Chinese islands. It has been gaining the most benefits from undersea natural gas and oil exploitation. It is also the most aggressive in dealing with China. In previous military conflicts between the two countries, China tried hard to show restraint. If Vietnam wants to start a war, China has the confidence to destroy invading Vietnam battleships, despite possible objections from the international community.
 You get the picture.

For analysis of the future of conflict in the SCS see the following MIL INT series

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