Branding the US and Japan as “paper tigers” and “eunuchs,” China’s state media today said that the military should remain ready for “counter attack” if American warships hold exercises near islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea to enforce the UN-backed tribunal’s verdict.
An editorial titled ‘Blustering US a paper tiger in S China Sea’ in the state-run Global Times said that the US has voiced the strongest support for the verdict against China on Tuesday by The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
US has said that the award was legally binding.
“More politicians and congressmen from the House and Senate have also made fiercer remarks, demanding regular challenges to China’s excessive maritime claims through naval and air patrols. Japan’s stance is precisely the same as that of the US, as if they have discussed their lines,” it said.
The tabloid daily said that on the contrary the attitude of the Philippines – which filed the petition against China at the tribunal – is relatively mild as it called for restraint.
Part of the ruling Communist Party publications, the daily is known of its nationalistic rhetoric.
“An old Chinese saying goes ‘the emperor doesn’t worry but his eunuch does,’ meaning the outsider is more anxious than the player. In this case, Washington and Tokyo are the worrying eunuchs,” it said.
“The calls for the use of force have only been heard when the US clamoured to safeguard the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which mirrors that the US hasn’t made the determination to use the arbitration for a showdown with China in the waters.”
“The People’s Liberation Army should enhance its military deployment in the waters of the Nansha Islands (Spratly islands) and be fully prepared to counterattack if the US makes further provocations,” it said.
“We do not wish for any direct confrontation or friction between the military powers… But if Washington insists on doing so, we will never flinch,” the editorial said.
It said many Chinese scholars believe that after the final award, the issue will gradually cool down. If there are no big moves from Manila, Washington and Tokyo, the case will “literally become nothing but a piece of paper,” it said.
The strongly-worded editorial came as China asserted that it would not abide by the verdict, which quashed its claims on parts of the South China Sea on the basis of historic rights.
China yesterday flew two civilian aircraft to assert its claims to the artificial islands built in the disputed area.
It successfully tested two new airfields on the disputed islands with civil flights a day after an international tribunal struck down Beijing’s claims over the region.
With this the number of airfields open to civil aircraft has gone up to three, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea over which the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have rival claims.
Another state-run newspaper ‘China Daily’ called the verdict a “travesty of international justice”. “Washington has been so uneasy, and eager to contain China’s rise. All the fanfare stirred up in the South China Sea, in essence, is part of that strategy,” it said.