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China Tells Neighbors Resistance Is "Futile"


China’s Foreign Minister issued a stern warning to neighboring countries today, saying that efforts to resist China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea are “futile” and countries that do so are “doomed.” The threat was timed to coincide with joint naval war games exercises by the US and the Philippines in the South China Sea and an announcement by the Philippine government that it would revitalize an old American naval and air base in Subic Bay, just 124 nautical miles from the contested Scarborough Shoal.

“If certain claimant countries choose confrontation, that path will be doomed,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. “If such countries try to reinforce their poorly grounded claims through the help of external forces, that will be futile and will eventually prove to be a strategic miscalculation not worth the effort.”

The Philippines and the United States had a ready reply. “A US destroyer joined the Philippine navy’s flagship for war games that started Thursday close to a flashpoint area of the South China Sea, adding to tensions with China over rival territorial claims,” AFP reports.

But the Philippine navy is poorly equipped to deal with China’s growing strength on the high seas. Last year, Chinese and Filipino ships came close to open conflict during a two month-long standoff at the Scarborough Shoal. Chinese forces now control the area.

It won’t be just Philippine ships that benefit from the restoration of the facilities at Subic Bay. Thanks to a Visiting Forces Agreement, American warships frequently stop by, and the new base will be built to receive the an increasing number of them: “This year alone, 72 U.S. warships and submarines visited Subic, compared with 88 for all of 2012, 54 in 2011 and 51 in 2010,” Reuters reports.

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