Whereas over the past year, ever since the outbreak of the hostilities over the fate of Ukraine following the Victoria Nuland orchestrated presidential coup, relations between Russia and NATO have devolved to a Cold War 2.0 state as manifested by countless interceptions of Russian warplanes by NATO jets and vice versa as depicted in the following infographic...
... at least China was mercifully allowed to stay out of the fray between the Cold War enemies.
This all changed this month when first the Pentagon's annual report to Congress this month cast China as a threat to regional and international peace and stability, followed several weeks ago when, with China aggressively encroaching into territories in the South China Sea claimed by US allies in the region such as Philippines, Vietnam and Japan, the US decided to get involved in yet another regional spat that does not directly involve it, and started making loud noises about China's territorial expansion over the commodity-reach area.
Far from shutting China up, earlier today China said it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew over parts of the disputed South China Sea in a diplomatic row that has fuelled tension between the world's two largest economies.
Quoted by Reuters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday China had lodged a complaint and that it opposed "provocative behaviour" by the United States.
"We urge the U.S. to correct its error, remain rational and stop all irresponsible words and deeds," she said. "Freedom of navigation and overflight by no means mean that foreign countries' warships and military aircraft can ignore the legitimate rights of other countries as well as the safety of aviation and navigation."
China had noted “ear-piercing voices” from many in the U.S. about China’s construction on the islands and reefs.
In other words, China just imposed an effective "no fly zone" for US spy planes, a dramatic shift from its recent posture when it tolerated and turned a blind eye to US spy plane overflights. Going forward, the US has been explicitly warned not to fly over China or risk the consequences.
This handout photo taken on March 16, 2015 by satellite imagery provider Digital Globe shows a satellite image of vessels purportedly dredging sand at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea
And just to confirm that if the US had hoped it could threaten Beijing into submission and force the Politburo into curbing its expanionist appetit, it was dead wrong, the nationalist Global Times, a paper owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, said in a Monday editorial that war was “inevitable” between China and the United States unless Washington stopped demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway.
A war between the United States and China is “inevitable” unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt its construction projects in the South China Sea, a Chinese state-owned newspaper warns.
“If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” The Global Times, an influential newspaper owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, said in an editorial Monday.
“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it,” said The Global Times, which is among China’s most nationalist newspapers.
Beijing last week said it was “strongly dissatisfied” after a US spy plane defied multiple warnings by the Chinese navy and flew over the Fiery Cross Reef, where China is reportedly building an airfield and other installations.
“The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’,” it warned.
The paper also asserted that China was determined to finish its construction work in the South China Sea, calling it Beijing’s “most important bottom line.”
Such commentaries are not official policy statements, but are sometimes read as a reflection of government thinking.
More importantly, they serve as populism-timestamped warnings that US demands for a Chinese retreat over what the world's most populous nation considers' its own national interest, will backfire dramatically and the next time a US spy plane flies over the Spratly Islands, or Beijing's smog for that matter, a very serious diplomatic incident may ensue.