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China Says Military Will “Stand Up And Use Force” If US Sends Warships To Islands

Over the course of the last six months, we’ve seen China’s land reclamation efforts go from oddity, to spectacle, to alleged “provocation”, to excuse for war as Washington feels compelled to come to the aid of its allies in the South Pacific who cried foul after it became apparent that this was no “normal” dredging effort.

In short, China has created some 3,000 acres of new sovereign territory and the US claims Beijing is effectively trying to redraw maritime boundaries on the way to establishing new military outposts. For its part, China denies the allegations and has responded with a peculiar mix of veiled threats (tweaking the wording of its official maritime strategy), not-so-veiled threats (telling a US spy plane with a CNN crew on board to “go now”), and humorous propaganda (a series of pictures from Fiery Cross depicting women, puppies, and gardens).

 

Despite efforts to de-escalate the matter when Xi visited the US this month, Beijing looks set to draw a line in the sand (no pun intended) when it comes to allowing the US to sail warships near the islands. Here’s AFP with more:

Chinese media slammed the US Thursday for “ceaseless provocations” in the South China Sea, with Washington expected to soon send warships close to artificial islands Beijing has built in disputed waters.

Following a meeting of American and Australian officials Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned Beijing that Washington will continue to send its military where international law allows, including the South China Sea.

The remarks were backed by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who said the two countries are “on the same page.”

An editorial in The Global Times, which is close to China’s ruling Communist party, condemned Washington’s “ceaseless provocations and coercion”.

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“China mustn’t tolerate rampant US violations of China’s adjacent waters and the skies over those expanding islands,” it said, adding that its military should “be ready to launch countermeasures according to Washington’s level of provocation,” it added.

The warship or ships would pass within the 12-mile territorial limit China claims around the structures to demonstrate that US commanders do not recognise it.

Such a move, the Global Times suggested, could be a “breach of China’s bottom line”.

“If the US encroaches on China’s core interests, the Chinese military will stand up and use force to stop it,” the paper warned.

 

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