Is Washington encouraging the Philippines and Vietnam to challenge China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea? In this at times conciliatory and at other times peppery editorial from the state-run Global Times, which reads like a summary of what the U.S. and China have been discussing since Friday, Beijing unambiguously warns Washington not to try to make up for its economic weakness with what it warns would be foolish military adventurism.
From the Global Times editorial, here are some notable excerpts:
It is unwise for the United States to look down on China as a mere land force that can only play a limited regional role. Because China has interests around the world, it is essential for its military to extend its reach further. Neither should China view the presence of the U.S. military in Asia as illegal or ignore America’s special influence over global security. China must accept the truth that the U.S. is an essential power in the region.
The territorial disputes in the South China Sea are a reality, as is the status of the Philippines as a much smaller country and China’s resolve to settle their dispute peacefully. It is unacceptable to China to be pressured by the Philippines, which is attempting to legitimize its aggressive behavior with American assistance.
Both the Philippines and Vietnam should show China proper respect and be prepared to pay for their wanton show of bravado. In return, China should respect these countries, since given China’s comparative might and rising status, any retribution China takes would be construed as bullying by the global community, resulting in a catastrophic blow to its reputation.
The U.S. can be expected to maintain absolute global military superiority for the foreseeable future. Washington should use this dominance to maintain its global influence by preventing unsound military ambitions, and serving as a link with other countries as American economic power declines.
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