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China warns of retaliation if the Philippines continues to provoke

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The rhetoric in Chinese Communist Party-controlled media has become extremely heated regarding the recent conflict in the South China Sea.

Chinese officials and media outlets have made strong statements about the situation, including threats of military action against the Philippines.

Director of China’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Xu Liping, warned that if the Philippines continues to provoke, China’s countermeasures may escalate to a military level.

A military commentator also mentioned that if the Philippines escalates the situation by sending warships, China will likely respond reciprocally.

Opinion writer Hu Xijin stated that China’s citizens were angry and wanted intruding Philippines ships sunk.

These statements reflect the aggressive rhetoric and sentiment that has been expressed by some elements within China’s Communist Party-controlled media.

The Philippines, on the other hand, has a mutual defense treaty with the US, which recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the parties would be dangerous and requires both parties to act accordingly.

Australia has also been strengthening its ties with the Philippines, signing a strategic partnership agreement and conducting joint exercises with Philippine and US forces.

The territorial dispute in the South China Sea extends beyond China and the Philippines. Other surrounding countries, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, also lay claim to at least part of the Spratly Islands. Philippine Coast Guard chief Jay Tarriela highlighted that it is only China that bullies others.

At the center of the conflict is a Philippine navy hulk deliberately beached on Second Thomas Shoal as a claim of ownership, which China responded to by building an artificial island on Mischief Reef. This artificial island has been heavily fortified and serves as an airfield and port.

China insists that the Philippines promised to remove the hulk and recognize Beijing’s jurisdiction, though no one in the Philippines can recall such a promise being made.

China has urged the Philippines to take its concerns seriously, stop making provocations, remove the grounded warship, and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Recent incidents in the South China Sea involved armed Chinese Coast Guard and fishing militia vessels bumping into and attempting to nudge Philippine supply boats and Coast Guard vessels.

China accuses the Philippines ships of posing a threat to the safety of Chinese naval vessels by acting unprofessionally and dangerously.

Overall, the situation in the South China Sea remains tense, with conflicting claims and heightened rhetoric from various parties involved.

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