Chinese state media have urged their national military to fire warning shots and deliberately ram U.S. warships that sail too close to their footholds in the disputed South China Sea.
U.S. ship Curtis Wilbur came within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracels last month, catapulting tensions in the oil-rich region to an all-time high.
The commentary article declared China must ‘teach the US a lesson’ if they continue intruding on China’s rightful territory, reports SCMP.
The Paracels have been under Chinese rule for over 40 years, deeming them the most fundamentally important foothold for China to defend, the article claimed.
The author proposed the American presence in the Paracels was intended to ‘oppose China for the sake of opposing’ – which called for ‘proper toughness and deterrence.’
It comes after U.S satellite images surfaced this week showing advanced air defence missile system on Woody Island in the Paracels, igniting concerns over China’s militarisation.
But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that patrols by U.S. military aircraft and Navy vessels, along with joint exercises involving regional partners were the true reason why concerns were escalating over stability.
China has been embroiled in fierce territorial disputes in the region since laying claim to a vast swathe of land known as the ‘nine-dash line.’
They have further stroked tensions by linking islands in the region with runways in a process known as ‘land reclamation.’
SOURCE: NELSON GROOM