South China Sea crisis: China promises fierce counterattack if US strike fortified islands

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China’s state-run news platform the Global Times has accused the US military of planning to send MQ-9 Reaper to attack three Chinese fortified islands in the South China Sea. The threatening from the Global Times was that China “will not hesitate in the face of extreme provocation and attack”. The state-run propaganda platform added: “If Washington wants to try its luck, the Chinese military and Chinese people will surely rise to the challenge and fight to the end.”

The news platform that is owned by Communist Party official newspaper the China Daily declared the US would pay “a heavy price” if it were to launch any sort of drone attack on Chinese held possessions in the South China Sea.

The Global Times stated: “We must warn the US side that attacking China’s Nansha Islands or other Chinese targets using MQ-9 Reaper drones is an act of war.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army, PLA, will surely fight back, causing the US military to pay a heavy price.”

The mouth-piece for Beijing’s rhetoric claims the US has accused China of “reckless and provocative militarization” in the disputed maritime region.

The news site has claimed the “Trump administration might try to boost their reelection campaign by creating a military crisis”.

The Global Times suggests China’s response would be to, “strike hard at the aggressors and teach them a lesson they will never forget”.

The editorial added: “China will shoot down incoming US warplanes, no matter they are unmanned or manned.

“If those planes cause actual damage to Chinese islands and reefs, we will strike the platforms and bases from which those planes take off.”

President of China Xi Jinping claims his nation has a historic right of ownership to almost the entire South China Sea.

This is demarked by the “nine-dash line” that encircles the mineral and resource-rich maritime area.

A 2016 international arbitration ruling has stated Beijing’s claim had no legal basis under international law.

The claim has been objected to by nations that surround the South China Sea.

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The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have claims to the sea they say China is encroaching upon.

The South China Sea has rich deposits of oil and gas.

There are also near-shore deposits of sought after minerals.

The region has reserves of titaniferous magnetite, zircon, monazite, tin, gold, and chromite.

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