China’s new city, Sansha
Tension rises in the South China Sea with China officially announcing its newest city in the Paracel group of islands. It has 1000 inhabitants and only 13 sq km in size. The Vietnamese and Filipinos are protesting wildly. For several centuries, being beaten and impoverished by the western colonial powers and Japan, China was a spent force, to be robbed, discriminated and ridiculed. Its land, islands are free for all to grab and China could do nothing about it.
Today, China has risen from the ashes as one of the two super powers in the world and with economic clout matching those of the US. While it had to take things lying down in the past, it need not do so today. It is about time China takes a firm stand on its territorial sovereignty and reclaims all the land and islands lost during the era of its eclipse. Not doing so would be a sign of weakness and will invite more trouble and counter claims from adventurers and aggressive countries.
Building cities in its own territories and islands is a sign of ownership. Dilly dallying is a sign of weakness, uncertainties and ambiguity. It may even weaken its claims on the islands. China must make its claims in no uncertain terms, tension will arise and clashes will be inevitable but unavoidable. Like it or not, tension and clashes are already on the table and not facing it and standing up to its rights to its own territories will be even worst.
China must face the hostility and the contentious parties squarely and make them know that China is not allowing an inch of its territories and islands to be taken away by wild claims. Enough is enough. There is no turning back for China unless it wants to weaken its own position and encourage more adventurism. China cannot fear to occupy its own territories unless it wants to tell the world that those are not its territories. To do or not to do, tension will rise and must be settled, with force if necessary. The countries making claims on China’s islands will want to resort to whatever means to stake their claims, even inviting the Americans to confront China militarily. The more China wavers, the more likely will it precipitate into open conflict. The only way to avoid open conflict is to make a stand that it would stop any attempt to seize its territories even at the cost of war.