A Chinese analyst has insisted that Beijing should strike the Philippines and Vietnam, the two ‘noisiest troublemakers,’ to strike fear into other claimants, local media have reported
Long Tao, a strategic analyst at the non-governmental China Energy Fund Committee, presented his view in an editorial titled, “A good time to take military action in the South China Sea,” in the Chinese-language edition of the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times. He also works at Zhejiang University’s Non-Traditional Security and Peace Development Research Center.
Long claimed that South China Sea was the “ideal battlefield” for China to wage small-scale wars with rival claimants to territory in the area. “We have nothing to lose in the war,” he said.
Long added that punishing the Philippines and Vietnam would also warn other Southeast Asian countries to stop making trouble.
“The U.S. has not withdrawn from the war on terrorism and the Middle East … so it cannot afford to open a second front in the South China Sea,” he wrote, adding that the “decisive shot” by Russia in the Caspian Sea in 2008 served as a model. “[Military] action by a big country in the international arena may result in initial shock, but in the long run, regional stability can be achieved through great power strategic reconciliation.”
As many as 2,000 comments have been put on the Internet, supporting his view, as the article spread rapidly on the website.
The paper also carried an article by Sun Pei-song, director of the government-backed Lianyungang Development Research Institute in Jiangsu province, that criticized Long’s view, who said any critical moves made by China in the South China Sea disputes would be exaggerated by the U.S. in order to contain China’s rising global influence, according to China News Watch. Both Sun and Long’s commentaries were published side by side, it said.
However, more than 1,000 infuriated Internet users branded Sun a “traitor.”
The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reported Friday that military experts refused to make comment on the Long’s bellicose view, saying that it is “a very sensitive issue.”
Civilian military analyst Ni Lexiong said Long’s article represented the view of some mainlanders on the South China Sea issue and that it was rare for a publication such as the Global Times to publish it, according to China Daily Watch.
“All military experts know that China is capable of dealing with such a war, but our leaders still lack courage and determination,” Ni said.
A retired People’s Liberal Army colonel, who requested anonymity, said the government’s tolerant policy on the South China Sea disputes was a result of its inability to exploit and develop oil and natural gas reserves in the area.
“But a war will be inevitable if the Philippines and Vietnam push China into a corner,” he said.