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Huangyan crisis hints long-term tensions

(Global Times)

14:43, May 03, 2012

A military drill conducted by PLA in South China Sea (File photo/ China Military Online)

What can we predict from the naval standoff between China and the Philippines near Huangyan Island in the South China Sea? The answer depends on the next action China is going to take.

The dynamics surrounding the Huangyan Island crisis are complicated. The Philippines claims sovereignty over the shoal, whereas the US-led Western forces seek to agitate hostility against China through the latest friction. Countries like Vietnam and Japan, which have maritime territorial disputes with China, are also watching closely, trying to explore collective actions against this rising power.

The Huangyan Island dispute is not a simple contest of national strength between China and the Philippines. Otherwise, it would have been much easier to end the ongoing crisis.

What China needs to do is much more than just safeguard Huangyan Island. It also needs to deal with external forces that may use the tension to disrupt China's rise.

At the moment, neither China nor the Philippines wants to appeal to arms. China knows that a swift fight with the Philippines will not help solve the dispute, whereas the Philippines could foresee a complete defeat if engaging in a war with China.

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