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– China, Growing Superpower
Chinese's military dominance in
S. China Sea complete: report
TAIPEI - China has secured the central leadership role in the South
China Sea and other players cannot match its military supremacy in the
region, according to an internal magazine of the People's Liberation
Army (PLA) obtained by Kyodo News.
Amid staunch denials by China that it is militarizing the South China
Sea, the article amounts to a rare admission by its military of its true
intentions in the region. Specifically, it sheds light on the policy of
boosting the military influence in the area under the cloak of "civilian
activities" such as private aviation.
The article was authored by officers of the PLA Navy's South Sea Fleet,
whose mission is to maintain and secure China's presence in the South
The experts said that China's massive land reclamation projects have
helped it to acquire the PLA's strategic advantage in military security
in the South China Sea to a certain extent.
"Intimidated by the projects, related claimants and neighboring
countries are unlikely to provoke any military conflict or escalate it
into a war because they are too poorly prepared," it said.
China has overlapping territorial claims in the strategically
significant waterway with the Philippines, Vietnam and other smaller
The report said a military crisis in the South China Sea is "highly
likely," but the likelihood that it will flare up into an all-out
military conflict or war is small.
With regard to military confrontation with the U.S. military, the report
said that while Washington is likely to maintain its seemingly neutral
stance on the sovereignty issue of the region, it "lacks both the
ability and will to engage in a military conflict or go to war with us."
While China must make efforts to prevent any military crisis, it must
also take advantage of a crisis to counter an attack launched by the
enemy and exhaust all necessary means to "hit the enemy where it hurts"
and "teach it a lesson."
To maintain its dominance in the region, the report proposed two
First is to draw a clear line in the sand with regard to managing a
military crisis. Possible means include preventing neighboring countries
from occupying more land features, warding off other countries from
disrupting its regular activities on the sea such as fishing or
development of oil and gas.
Second is to brace for an "endurance warfare" to secure strategic
advantages with patience and long-term planning. Over time, the balance
of power has tilted toward China, it said. The military should "fight
behind a civilian front and refrain from firing the first shot, but it
should also prepare to fight endurance warfare" to safeguard
sovereignty, security and national interests.
It cited as a successful example of "skillfully taking advantage of a
crisis" its normalizing of patrols around the Japanese-administered
Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea immediately after the Japanese
government put the islands under state control in 2012.
An international tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines
in July last year, rejecting China's so-called nine-dash line claim over
almost the entire sea as having no legal basis. Beijing has rejected the
ruling and considers it non-binding.