The United States and China are in the midst of a tense naval showdown over the Spratly archipelago, a region in the South China Sea claimed by both China and America’s close ally the Philippines – and the two sides may be closer to war than most of us realize.
“This can convince the White House that China, despite its unwillingness, is not frightened to fight a war with the US in the region, and is determined to safeguard its national interests and dignity,” an op-ed published in The Global Times, a tabloid newspaper associated with China’s ruling Communist Party, stated on October 27.
The newspaper was referring to a trip made by the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen, an American naval vessel that sailed within 12 nautical miles of two of the Spratly Islands. China believes the US violated its sovereignty and that the trip was illegal.
It is unclear if The Global Times editorial represents official opinion in China, but the nation’s foreign minister, Zhang Yesui, did summon US Ambassador Max Baucus to his office to protest the move. Such a protest can be seen as a preliminary move to war.