A Global Times editorial warns neighbouring countries against pursuing “illogical” opportunism in their dealings with China, arguing that such policies could ultimately force Beijing into a military response.
Recently, both the Philippines and South Korean authorities have detained fishing boats from China, and some of those boats haven’t been returned. China has been increasingly confronted with sea disputes and challenged by tough stances from the countries involved. These events have been promoting hawkish responses within China, asking the government to take action ….
Currently, China’s mainstream understanding is that it should first go through the general channels of negotiating with other countries to solve sea disputes. But if a situation turns ugly, some military action is necessary.
This public sentiment will influence China’s future foreign policy. Countries currently in sea disputes with China may have failed to spot this tendency, as they still perceive China through conventional wisdom. Thus, the South China Sea, as well as other sensitive sea areas, will have a higher risk of serious clashes.
If these countries don’t want to change their ways with China, they will need to prepare for the sounds of cannons. We need to be ready for that, as it may be the only way for the disputes in the sea to be resolved.
The hawkish tone echoes that of a recent op-ed by a think tank analyst who advocated “tiny-scale battles” against the southern “minnows” if polite warnings failed:
The Afghanistan and Iraq Wars have already set some bad examples for us in terms of the scale of potential battles, but the minnows will get a reality check by the art of our move ….
Russia’s decisive move on Caspian Sea issues in 2008 proved that actions from bigger countries might cause a shockwave for a little while but will provide its region with long-term peace.