For the past several years, control of the South China Sea has peaked the interests of both China and the United States. The hotly disputed waters see over one-third of the world’s shipping, house lucrative fisheries, and vast oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.
The South China Sea holds tremendous geopolitical importance and over a half-dozen governments have made territorial claims in the region. Over the years the disputes have flared nearly to the point of militarized conflict, but the countries involved have mostly handled the disputes diplomatically.
China stakes its claim to the region because of the loosely defined nine-dash line which was initially used by the Republic of China from 1912–1949. However, the other countries involved in the dispute such as the Philippines and Vietnam lay claim to the waters because of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In January of 2013, the Philippines initiated arbitration proceedings with the United Nations against China’s claim on the territories within the Nine-Dash Line. In July of 2016, the arbitral tribunal sided with the Philippines and claimed that there was no evidence to support China’s claims regarding the nine-dash line and that there is “no legal basis for China to claim historic rights” over the region.
China rebuffed the ruling and has continued to escalate tensions in the region by constructing artificial islands primarily for military purposes. As a result, the United States has continued to manage tensions by continually patrolling the waters in the surrounding area.
However, the Communist Nation is rather displeased that the United States is continually attempting to quell their advances and as a result, China has issued stark rhetoric to the United States.
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In early December, Dai Xu, a People’s Liberation Army Air Force colonel commandant and the president of China’s Institute of Marine Safety and Cooperation, stated that; “If the US warships break into Chinese waters again, I suggest that two warships should be sent: one to stop it, and another one to ram it … In our territorial waters, we won’t allow US warships to create disturbance.”
Dai, who is well known for hawkish rhetoric; however, he claims that the US Navy’s operations in the region are provocative in nature and are aimed at undermining China’s sovereignty. Furthermore, Dai is not the only Chinese military official making such claims.
In addition, Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, a Senior Chinese Military Official, followed up the claims of the latter in a December 20th, 2018 speech in Shenzhen.
“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Admiral Lou declared. Further, the Admiral claimed that the loss of one super carrier would cost the lives of five thousand United States Service men and women.
Sinking two would cost double that toll; “We’ll see how frightened America is.”
Remarkably, during his speech he claimed that there were ‘five cornerstones of the United States’ open to exploitation: their military, their money, their talent, their voting system — and their fear of adversaries.
“If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the People’s Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on (invade) the island,” Admiral Lou said.
“Achieving China’s complete unity is a necessary requirement. The achievement of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has given us the capability and confidence to safeguard our sovereignty. Those who are trying to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and Taiwan should be careful about their future.”
“The PLA is capable of taking over Taiwan within 100 hours with only a few dozen casualties,” said retired lieutenant general Wang Hongguang. “2018 is a year of turmoil for Taiwan, and a possible military conflict may take place in Taiwan soon. (But) As long as the US doesn’t attack China-built islands and reefs in the South China Sea, no war will take place in the area.”
The hawkish rhetoric issued by Chinese Military Officials exemplifies the lengths at which China is willing to go to for control of the South China Sea regardless of international law and the potential for casualties. The United States has long held a position in the region, and according to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, the US and China could foreseeably go to war over the hotly disputed area.
Update: China tells Military Leaders to be Ready for Battle, Crisis, Hardships
January 6th, 2019 22:10 EST
At a time when tensions are mounting with the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered his military be ready for battle, hardships, and crisis.
In December of 2018, two Military Officials from China claimed that they could thwart the United States’ action in the South China Sea by sinking US ships. Now, Xi Jinping is verbally preparing his military for what could possibly take place over the course of the next year.
The Chinese President made such statements during a meeting at the Central Military Commission to top officials. At the meeting Xi Jinping stated;
“All military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle,” he said.
Xi Jinping further stated that China’s armed forces must “prepare for a comprehensive military struggle from a new starting point.”. “Preparation for war and combat must be deepened to ensure an efficient response in times of emergency.”