The U-shaped line represents China's claims to as much as 90 per cent of the South China Sea (SCS) important for global trade and rich in natural resources, including oil deposits.
Calling for national unity ahead of today’s verdict by an international tribunal on China’s claims in the South China Sea, state media directed its ire against US and Japan saying that Beijing should be on high alert if tensions escalate putting to test the PLA’s military strength.
“The US and Japan have claimed that relevant countries, including China, should comply with the arbitration result. They stand in sharp confrontation with China, which has announced that the award would be ‘nothing but a piece of paper’,” state-run Global Times said ahead of the verdict of the five-judge arbitral tribunal constituted Permanent Court of Arbitration adjudicating on the Philippines’ petition against China’s claims.
Besides accusing China of taking control of the area around 140 miles from its coast, the Philippines’ petition asked the international tribunal to reject China’s claim to sovereignty over waters within a ‘nine-dash line’ that appears on official Chinese maps.
The U-shaped line represents China’s claims to as much as 90 per cent of the South China Sea (SCS) important for global trade and rich in natural resources, including oil deposits.
“Whether the arbitration will lead to a severe geopolitical crisis has come under the global spotlight,” it said in its editorial titled “China’s reaction to arbitration depends on provocation”.
“We believe the Chinese government must have made a series of contingency plans to deal with subsequent actions. What actions China may take on Huangyan and Ren’ai, (the area under contention) and whether China will announce a SCS Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) depends on the reactions of Philippines to the arbitration result and the degree of US and Japanese provocations,” it said.
“So far, none of the concerned parties want military confrontation. But all are ratcheting up military preparations. The South China Sea has been clouded by unprecedented tensions. It’s uncertain where the situation will head to,” it said.
In a similar editorial another state-run newspaper China Daily said, “The United States and some of its allies are already eyeing Tuesday as a day of triumph, as they believe the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration will rule against China in a case unilaterally brought by the Philippines over their South China Sea dispute. Much fanfare can be expected should the farce directed by Washington finally reach the climax it anticipates”.
China claims almost all of the SCS bit its claim is firmly contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan which have overlapping claims over the area.