Chinese and U.S. ships on June 25, 2016. Chinese Ministry of Defense Photo
Harry Kazianis, Asia Times: Beijing may be waiting for the perfect timing to strike in South China Sea
Reports suggest China may seize Scarborough Shoal during the final weeks of the US presidential election as America’s gaze turns inward. President Obama has already warned China about the consequences and he should remind its leaders that such an attempt would constitute a challenge to the peace and stability of Asia and would force Washington to rethink many areas of cooperation with Beijing.
The People’s Republic of China is headed on a tragic trajectory that should be familiar to anyone with even cursory exposure to history. Due to a complex composition of factors – a century of torment at the hands of western powers and Japan as well as a toxic brew of nationalism – the PRC is not content with its place as the world’s second largest economy, or even largest when using purchasing-parity power, or PPP, as the benchmark. Nor is China happy with its standing as the planet’s second largest military armed with advanced weapons like “carrier-killer” missiles, a budding hypersonic weapons program and other top-tier offensive platforms. Beijing doesn’t even seem to regard its undertaking of major initiatives like the “One Belt, One Road” project and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank as signs of its rise to global superpower stature.
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WNU Editor: Will the Chinese strike .... I doubt it. But if they were to strike, I would say that two or three weeks before the U.S. election would be the perfect time for China to launch such an operation (i.e. seizing the Scarborough Shoal). The U.S. public will be distracted (even though this will be a major news story on the evening news for a few days), and the perception is that President Obama will go out of his way to not intervene forcefully for the simple reason that he does not want his legacy to be remembered as the President who started a conflict with China. And then there is the Russians .... Why Russia and China's Combat Drills in the South China Sea Matter (National Interest).