China's Extremely Reasonable Claimed Territorial Waters (Source: UNCLOS and CIA)

China's Extremely Reasonable Claimed Territorial Waters (Source: UNCLOS and CIA)

Yesterday the internet flared up with rumors of China moving towards a state of war with the Philippines over the now three week Scarborough Shoal issue. The BBC reports that this isn’t quite the case, though hardliners in the Chinese Communist party appear happy enough to wipe the Philippines off the map and:

China has denied reports its military forces are preparing for war amid tensions over a disputed territory in the South China Sea.

The defence ministry statement comes despite warnings to the Philippines that military conflict is possible over a reef known as the Scarborough Shoal.

Ships from China and the Philippines have been confronting each other for more than a month over the shoal.

Both sides accuse the other of intruding into territorial waters.

“Reports that the Guangzhou military region, the South China Sea fleet and other units have entered a state of war preparedness are untrue,” the ministry said in a brief statement on its website late on Friday.

Fears of an armed clash escalated when the Chinese army’s own newspaper warned the military should not be treated as a paper tiger, says BBC Asia analyst Charles Scanlon.

That led to excited rumours on Chinese internet sites that the navy was preparing for action and that the Guangzhou military command in the south of the country was on a war footing, our analyst says.

The defence ministry has officially denied those reports – but hardline elements in the leadership appear to be losing patience with the defiant approach of a much smaller neighbour.

Analysts say the central government may see an opportunity to deflect attention from its internal problems.

But its intentions are far from clear – and the competing interests of maritime agencies and the military mean its next step is hard to predict, our analyst adds (Source: BBC News)

There will be a point where the Chinese government’s inability to stop it’s populace from international incidents, along with their hard-lined responses to such incidents, will force China’s hand into actual war after they’ve revved up their people against the world as a means of salving domestic issues. Looking at the map above, there will be plenty of opportunities.

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Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 82 post(s) on Asia Security Watch