China newspaper warns of ‘small-scale war’ with Philippines

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
By Paul Martin

StratRisks.com
April 25, 2012

One of China’s most popular newspapers has warned of a potential “small-scale war” between Beijing and Manila as a result of their standoff at Panatag Shoal, or Scarborough Shoal as the area is known internationally.

The Global Times, in an editorial published in its Chinese and English editions, said over the weekend that “China should be prepared to engage in a small-scale war at sea with the Philippines”.

“Once the war erupts, China must take resolute action to deliver a clear message to the outside world that it does not want a war, but definitely has no fear of it,” the tabloid said.

Malacañang and Philippine military officials were unfazed by the toughly worded editorial.

In a speech at Xavier School in Greenhills, San Juan City, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said his administration was raising international awareness on the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China to show the global community how Beijing was treating Manila.

Same treatment
Aquino said the Philippines wanted to take the issue to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea but China’s cooperation was needed to resolve it.

“Our weapon really here is for the world to know what we are doing,” the President said. “These nations could start thinking if this is how we are being treated—whether they are as big or as small as us—maybe there will come a time that they will get the same treatment [from China],” he said.

He maintained it was not his intention to escalate the problem with China.

“We own the shoal,” Aquino said, referring to Panatag, which lies about 200 kilometers west of Zambales province. “For so long a time we own it and [we are] recognised by international law, especially under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). That’s the only thing that we’re asking.”

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