Falling into a trap or Climbing out of one?
Many Chinese are reluctant to go to war against any S. E. Asian countries. These people even advice that even if Chinese ships were fired on by foreign military they should not return fire. The Chinese government has also repeatedly stressed that China will not be the first to use force to settle the dispute in the S China Sea. Why are the Chinese so reluctant to use force to defend what it has clearly stated is its sovereign territories?
Many Chinese doves had given several reasons for being forbearing and patient. They argue that China is at a critical stage in its economic development. They argue that in order for the economy to continue to develop China must have peace with its neighbors because so much of China’s economy depends on foreign trade. They also argue that fighting wars will be very expensive. They point to the US which had suffered and is suffering from fighting wars. In the past the US had suffered serious economic recessions due partly to Korean War and Vietnam War which consumed $320 billion and 4.2% of GDP of peak war year and $686 billion and 2.3% of GDP of peak war year respectively. Now America is mired in Iraq and Afghanistan which are costing $800 billion and 1% of GDP of peak war year and $470 billion and 0.3 percent of GDP of peak war year respectively up to 2008. These are obviously heavy cost even for America to bear.
The doves also argue that ultimately peace is the only way to go because only peace can guarantee security and allow all nations to devote their resources to economic development to give their peoples the best life they can get. And China as the longest continuing civilized country in the world must take the lead to promote peace. Therefore, they argue, if China were to get into a war then it has already lost its moral leadership to promote peace. Because of this, China must never get into a war with its neighbors. These doves argue that many countries in the world are trying to trick China into fighting wars to stop its economic development and destabilize its future security in Asia and around the world and to lose its moral leadership for peace. Therefore, they argue, if China got into a war then it would have fallen into a dangerous trap from which it would be difficult to climb out.
Therefore, these doves propose that China should not get into unseemly squabbles with its neighbors over territorial disputes. China should set an example of tabling disputes and concentrating on establishing peace and mutually beneficial cooperation that will benefit all much more than gaining a little bit of territories or even tens of billions of barrels of oil. After all, peaceful development will allow each country to gain trillions of dollars of GDP every year more than they can ever get from oil in the S. China Sea. Even if there were 100 billion barrels of oil, even at $100 per barrel the total proceed would only amount to $10 trillion. After deducting cost of extraction the remaining amount would be less than $6 trillion. And divided over 30 years this amounts to only $200 billion a year. This is not a significant amount for China. Even now with its $6 trillion plus GDP, $200 billion is only slightly more than 3%. If China doubled and tripled its GDP then it would amount to only 1% or less. Even for the other four disputants, each would get only $50 billion a year. And more likely than not much of it would end up in the pockets of their corrupt politicians and leave only $200 or so for each of their citizens. And when the oil is gone in 30 years, they would be just as poor as before. Therefore, it is more beneficial to concentrate on developing peacefully the respective economies of the disputants so that each can develop per capita GDP of tens of thousands dollars. Obviously $200 per person of oil benefit pales to insignificance compared to tens of thousands of dollars of steady per capita incomes from fundamental economic development based on a close cooperation among all the countries in the region. Furthermore, oil money will inevitably disappear in 30 years but incomes from fundamental economic development will last forever or as long as peace and cooperation is maintained. Therefore, it is contrary to the best interest of the S. E. Asian region to fight over oil which ultimately is worth only a very small amount compared to the trillions of dollars equivalent of economic output of goods and services that can be generated through peace and cooperation.
These are, of course, very good and benevolent arguments for not fighting to defend China’s sovereign territories. But they are also unrealistic and inapplicable. They are inapplicable because the four invading countries are not ruled by benevolent and rational peoples. They are ruled by greedy and capricious people who can only see the immediate benefits of quick and easy oil wealth and not the long term benefits of steady economic development that require decades of hard work that won’t benefit the current political leaders. Therefore, the four invading countries will not listen to the benevolent arguments of China nor do they see China as a benefactor that can help them develop. They see China as it was one hundred years ago, a poor and sick man who was helpless to defend itself against the invasions of Japan and the West. Therefore, these four invading countries think they can rely on Japan and the West to intimidate China. They even think that they themselves can invade China with impunity. Unfortunately, what is intended by China to be a demonstration of its forbearance and benevolence is seen by the invading countries as confirmation of their belief that China is weak and cowardly. Therefore, they jeered and mocked China’s offer of peaceful joint development and redoubled their invasion of China’s sovereign territories.
Another reason for China’s attempt to solve the problem peacefully is based on the fact that Asia as a whole had been devastated by western aggression for hundreds of years. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were colonized by France. The Philippines was colonized first by Spain then later by America. Indonesia was colonized by Netherlands. Malaysia and Brunei were colonized by UK. UK also colonized the entire region from Burma to Egypt. All the peoples of these countries suffered grievously under the western colonial rule. It is China’s wish as the biggest country in the East Asia region to unite the countries of the region to promote peace and prosperity so that all can live free of Western dominance and destruction. Therefore, China feels that if it got into a war with its S. E. Asian neighbors then it would have fallen into the trap set by the Westerners. The East Asian solidarity would have been broken even before it was united and China would not be able to lead the S. E. Asian countries for regional security and prosperity and the Westerners can reestablish their dominance over East Asia again. Therefore, China repeatedly exercised forbearance and hoped that the invading countries would reflect on the longer term benefits of a united, peaceful and prosperous East Asia and voluntarily withdraw their invading occupational garrison from China’s sovereign territories.
But as I said above, the four invading countries don’t think in such long term views of regional common security and prosperity. They don’t identify themselves as Asians. They certainly don’t identify themselves as allies of the Chinese. They jeered and laughed derisively at China’s being the leader of Asia preferring to side with the Westerners who they can see to be rich and powerful. They ask, why should we recognize China as our leader when China itself is dependent on selling cheap labor products to the Westerners? We’d rather follow the rich Westerners themselves. Therefore, China cannot lead the Asian countries unless and until it is seen as an independently advanced, rich and powerful nation that is more advanced, richer and more powerful than the Western countries combined. Therefore, China cannot win the respect and the followings of the Asian countries by demonstrating benevolence and forbearance but only by demonstrating its power and determination and its ability to defend its own territories against foreign aggressions, especially aggressions supported by Westerners.
China is also afraid that if it went to war it will end up fighting the whole world. It sees potential wars in the Korean Peninsula as well as on the China-India border. It sees many potential enemies forming alliances against China. And India is entering the S. China Sea by establishing military bases in Vietnam. And America and Japan as well as Australia are forming or deepening their alliance and focusing more intently on China and S. China Sea. Therefore, China thinks that if it started a war it will end up fighting the whole world. China had been attacked in the last century by an alliance of eight countries which were Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US. That war was devastating to the Chinese both physically and psychically. It still cast a lingering trauma on the psyche of the Chinese people and government. It makes the Chinese people fearful and feel isolated in the world. Hence the extraordinary effort the Chinese are making to make international friends and avoid confrontation.
This fear is actually groundless. Since then many of the eight aggressors had fought each other. Austria-Hungary, Germany, Italy, and Japan had form an alliance and fought France, Russia, UK and US as another alliance. Today, there is very little serious cooperation between France and Germany even though both are in the EU. The relationship between Japan and the US is an uneasy one based on military dominance. Russia and the US are overtly hostile.
While India is increasing its military expenditure, it is doubtful whether its military can continue to increase sustainably. India’s economy is very small to begin with. Its total GDP is only some $1.5 trillion or less than ¼ of China’s total GDP. Then India’s technologies are much less developed than China’s. This means that India will need to squander its minute forex reserve to buy arms at exorbitant prices from Russia. China on the other hand has all the technologies to build all its own arms from 5th generation stealth fighters to nuclear attack submarines to very accurate anti-ship ballistic missiles guided by China’s own satellites. China also has the technologies for superior engines and avionics. Therefore, China’s militarization will create jobs and economic growth while India’s militarization will severely stunt its economic development. Over the long term China will develop faster and be able to be more technologically advanced and achieve a much bigger economy. And with more advanced superior technologies and bigger economy China will be able to deploy more advanced and more lethal weapons in greater numbers than India. Therefore, India is not a threat to China now nor is it likely that it can be in the future provided China can develop an very big independent domestic economy with its own indigenous superior technologies.
Furthermore, India also has dangerous enemies both on the east and west. In the east there is Burma. On the west there is Pakistan. If war broke out between China and India then both of these countries will take the opportunity to attack India. Pakistan with its many nuclear missiles must present a very real threat to India.
On the Korea Peninsula, N. Korea is a nuclear power. Even though its economy is not big, its military is well armed. The mountainous terrain of N. Korea also makes it difficult to fight with heavy tanks and other heavy equipments. And the nuclear missiles of N. Korea must be a serious concern as it will be used as a last resort. The ability of the S. Koreans to capture these nuclear missiles may not be very high. Therefore, it is only necessary for China to give minimal aids to the N. Koreans to enable them to repulse the S. Koreans and their Japanese and American allies.
The borders to the north and west of China are not expected to be threatening for the moment. Furthermore, China has developed many weapons that can allow it to defend itself securely. Its DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles can sink aircraft carriers at up to 2,000 km which is outside of the normal operating radii of carrier based fighters. China also has developed accurate cruise missiles that can be launched from bombers that will make carriers and battleships unsafe anywhere in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. China can also destroy the air bases in Japan, S. Korea, Okinawa and even Guam and Philippines with its missiles and fighter and bombers. And by sinking freighters none of these countries can be re-supplied with arms and materiel which will render them impotent and unable to do harm to China on a sustained basis, and also be easily invaded if necessary.
From this it is obvious that China does not need to fear an attack from an alliance of many countries against it. While powerful enemies are lined up against it, it also has some allies of its own who can be relied on to fight for their own survival as allies of China. Furthermore, the Chinese government must understand the mob mentality. Human mobs are formed not out of a common sense of justice or righteousness but are formed with the desire for opportunistic looting. Each looter is only looking to grab something for himself without any sense of loyalty to the mob. The moment one of them is shot then the rest will quickly disperse for fear of his own life. The same thing applies in the S. China Sea. Most ASEAN countries don’t see their national interests involved in the dispute between Vietnam and Philippines and China. Thailand is more worried about the expanding military power of Vietnam and Malaysia than China. Similarly Cambodia and Laos don’t see Vietnam as their protector but more as an aggressor. Vietnam had invaded Cambodia and Laos and maintains a military dominance over these countries. It is safe to say that once China makes an effort to help these countries they will distant themselves from Vietnam. The reason why they are dominated by Vietnam is simply due to China’s neglect of these two countries and the perception that Vietnam is actually militarily more powerful than China. Destroy that erroneous perception by destroying Vietnam’s military and these two countries will quickly become China’s loyal allies.
Therefore, the danger is greater if China did not respond vigorously to the invasions of Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. If China did not respond vigorously then the other ASEAN countries will see China’s weakness as an opportunity for themselves to try to grab something from China. Also the current allies of China may become uncertain of the reliability of China as an ally and protector in their own security. And so out of concern for their own security these current allies may try to seek accommodations with their own enemies and so distance themselves from China. In which case China would lose allies and become even more isolated.
Therefore, to discourage ASEAN nations from turning into an opportunistic mob to loot China as well as to retain the loyalty and solidarity of its current allies and friendly neighbors, China must respond vigorously to the S. China Sea invasions by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Because only by responding vigorously can China show it has the power to defend itself as well as having the power to protect its allies against their common enemies. Then those who might have turned into opportunistic looters will keep still and those who depend on China will remain loyal. In the end, there will be grater peace and harmony in S. E. Asia as well as all around the border of China.
Some in China are afraid that fighting once started will pull in countries from afar, particularly the US and other EU countries. But this fear is unfounded because America and EU are in deep economic troubles themselves. They simply cannot afford the extra expenditures of fighting a protracted war that will cost a large proportion of their GDP. To fight a very powerful country such as China will inevitably turn into economic suicide for America and EU. Therefore, only if they can be opportunistic looters of a totally powerless China will they even attempt to enter the war. It is simply farfetched to say that these self-serving countries will sacrifice the lives of their people to defend four countries that they despise. Therefore, if China responded forcefully to the invasions then the Western countries will simply ignore the war and continue to maintain good relations with China. They might make violent denunciations against China but they will never do anything that will cost them in money or lives. They might sell arms to China’s enemies to make profits for themselves as well as a leverage to extort more concessions out of China. But they will never fight China directly. Therefore, the safest course of action for China is to go to war vigorously while continuing to show itself as weak and irresolute will bring in American and EU as more opportunistic looters. Then indeed the whole world will be attacking China!
Therefore, China is already in a dangerous trap where it is being perceived as a weak sick man who dare not defend himself. The invasions of the four puny countries have put China in a position where it is being tested and scrutinized by the whole world to see how it will solve the problem. If China cannot quickly climb out of that trap, then other countries will gather around the trap and hurl rocks down upon it. Therefore, the wisest and safest thing for China to do is to quickly climb out of the trap by going to war and quickly defeating these puny invaders before its seemingly helpless pathetic situation emboldens other opportunistic countries to become overtly hostile and join in the attack on China.
Lastly, there are some Chinese who worry that the cost of going to war will halt the economic development. They say the cost of many wars fought by America had repeatedly slowed down America’s economic development. But the cost of going to war in the S. China Sea will not cost China so much as to derail its economic development. On the contrary going to war will actually help China’s economic development.
First people must understand why it cost America so much to fight its wars. Invariably America’s war objective is to occupy and regime change the target countries. This required America to insert hundreds of thousands of troops and spend hundreds of billions of dollars of arms and materiel. And when the battles were over, America continued to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in fighting insurgents while trying to rebuild the country from the ground up. In Iraq for example, America very quickly destroyed the Iraqi military. But then it started squandering hundreds of billions of dollars over the subsequent years to build up the infrastructure while suicide bombers killed hundreds almost everyday. And after all these years Iraq is nowhere being a dependable and loyal ally of America. And according to some, America does not even control the oil.
In Vietnam, America also quickly inserted itself by nominally coming to the aid of the S. Vietnamese government. But then the Vietcong guerrillas keep attacking ultimately causing the deaths of millions of S. Vietnamese soldiers and tens of thousands of American soldiers. And the infrastructure kept being destroyed by the Vietcong guerillas while hundreds of billions of dollars of aid money went into the pockets of corrupt S. Vietnamese officials. Therefore, the bigger part of America’s war expenditure is not for fighting to destroy the military of the target countries to occupy them but in fighting the insurgents and rebuilding the countries after the countries were occupied.
From the above lesson, China can keep its war cost to a minimum by not repeating the mistakes of America. To begin with, China’s objective is not to occupy Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei but merely to evict them from China’s sovereign territorial archipelagos and stop them from stealing China’s sovereign resources. The S. China Sea islands are all very small and difficult to defend. This means that it would be relatively simple for China to bomb them into submission. The most difficult part of the war is to destroy the air forces and navies of these countries. But it is relatively easy for China to destroy the air force of Vietnam because as of 2011 it has only some 60 Su-27 and Su-30 fighters and some 200 second generation Mig-jet fighters that are mostly obsolete in Russia. China has more than 600 comparable 4th generation jet fighters such as J-10, J-11, Su-27, and Su-30 with more being put into service every month. Therefore, even trading jet fighters one for one against the Vietnamese air force, China can expect to lose no more than 60 of its 4th generation fighters. Therefore, destroying Vietnam’s air force is not a difficult task. At least it shouldn’t be given China’s overwhelming numerical as well as qualitative advantages.
Destroying the air force of Philippines is even easier because it does not really have an air force. Its inventory of fighters consists mostly of propeller fighters used for fighting guerillas and pirates and can be swatted out of the skies by China’s 4th generation fighters like flies. Brunei really doesn’t have an air force either. Malaysia has only one squadron of Su-30 (the 11th Squadron) and one squadron of Mig-29 (the 19th Squadron) as far as I know. The other planes are mostly trainers, transports, and helicopters. Anyway, the Malaysia air force is known for its corruption where jet fighters routinely crash due to essential parts and components being stolen and switched with inferior substitutes. I realistically don’t see them as a problem for the superior Chinese air force. Even trading fighter for fighter, China would not lose more than 25 of its 4th generation fighters to destroy the entire Malaysia air force. So the entire war in S. China Sea will most likely cost no more than 85 of China’s 4th generation fighters at a cost of less than 17 billion yuan. Given the fact that China’s current military budget is some 600 billion yuan or more, even 20 billion yuan is no more than a drop in the bucket. And China can easily increase its military budget from its current 1.5% of GDP to 3% of GDP to some 1.2 trillion yuan. In which case 20 billion yuan is no more than a round off number.
Destroying the navies of these countries is even easier than destroying their air forces. Vietnam’s navy consists mostly of patrol boats. It is scheduled to receive 2 frigates and 6 submarines from Russia over the next several years. But for now it essentially has nothing but patrol boats which can be easily destroyed even with China’s J-7 or J-8. Philippines navy is about the same. It has only one old destroyer built in 1943 and an American coast guard vessel built in 1965 and decommissioned in 2011 and then “transferred” to the Philippine navy. The rest are just corvettes and patrol boats which can be destroyed by even J-7 and J-8 or many other types of weapons such as CJ-10A cruise missiles fired from H6-K bombers. In fact, I don’t think these tiny corvettes and patrol boats even deserve the cost of CJ-10A cruise missiles which are made for much bigger cruisers and carriers.
Malaysian navy has more ships than the other two. It has 4 frigates and 2 submarines. But these should be no problem for the Chinese fighter bombers once the Malaysian air force is destroyed. My guess is that the Malaysian air force and navy would simply keep to the Malay Peninsula once war started and keep out of harm’s way. The Malays know they are no match for the powerful Chinese air force so they will be prudent and save themselves and stay out of S. China Sea.
In the end, fighting the war in S. China Sea will most probably be no more than destroying the Vietnamese air force and navy. Once Vietnam has been defeated, the others will simply give up. They might complain loudly but they will withdraw from China’s sovereign territories without a fight which will be suicidal for them to fight.
However, many argue that the war may not end so quickly. They will argue that even after China has destroyed the air forces and navies of these countries, the war would just be beginning. They will continue to rebuild their air forces and navies and continue to confront China. So the war in S. China Sea will continue for a long long time. They also argue that China’s shipping through the Malacca Strait will be blocked thus causing great economic losses to China. They also argue that Vietnam will invite America and India to station troops on its soil and allow them to use Vietnam as a staging area to attack China.
These arguments are not likely. Once Vietnam had its air force and navy destroyed it will not have much foreign exchange to buy more from Russia especially if China stops its income of oil revenues. China can also blockade Vietnam’s shipping thus stopping its foreign trade. Therefore, without any foreign exchange Vietnam will not be able to pay for any more fighters and frigates. At the same time, those Vietnamese who are friendly to China will gain a much stronger voice in their government and can call for peace with China to stop the needless and futile war. Therefore, the most likely outcome is the establishment of peace and not a protracted continuance of war. Furthermore, even if war were continued, time would be on China’s side. China would be in occupation and control of its sovereign territorial islands which will strengthen its claim of sovereignty. China would also gain the oil revenues to pay for the cost of war. And China could also use Vietnamese military as target practice to train and hone the Chinese military to give them vital real war experience. I doubt if India can station more than a token expeditionary force in Vietnam. If it did, then China can also attack them to test their fighting ability. This would be a good chance for China to fight India and gauge its fighting ability without leading to a total war with it. As to America stationing troops in Vietnam, it is simply impossible given the sentiments of the America people. Furthermore, as I said repeatedly, America simply is not in any economic shape to support a large troop buildup in any country let alone Vietnam. The most America will do is make a few port calls and conduct a few military drills to extort concessions from China. So if China ignored it or even if China punish America by withdrawing concessions from it, then America would simply keep quiet. Whatever else it might be, America is eminently rational. It will never fight a war that it is not confident of winning. Given China’s current state of military development, it is no longer a certain thing for America to win. Therefore, America will not fight China unless China become totally destroyed first by fighting others. Which is unlikely if not impossible. Furthermore, the greatest danger does not lie in hot war in the S. China Sea but in the insidious economic invasion into China’s own domestic economy. Unfortunately, after decades of opening up China’s domestic economy has been very much invaded by foreigners. For example, China’s auto industry is 80% controlled by foreign car makers. And China’s mobile phone industry is controlled 60% to 80% by foreign companies. If China is to be prosperous and secure it must regain its own domestic economy. Therefore, the danger is not America landing troops in Vietnam to attack China but in America extorting more economic concession from China to take control of even greater part of China’s domestic economy. And by winning the S. China Sea war China can proceed to reduce foreign economic dominance of China and pave the way for China’s faster resurgence to become truly rich and powerful and not just a sick man that is already an economic colony.
Therefore, China’s cost of war to the extent of destroying the air forces and navies of the four invaders can be projected to be minimal. The probability of fighting a protracted war after the initial attack is over is minimal. In any event protracted war against these four belligerents will be in China’s advantage. The most likely outcome is that China will regain its sovereign territories and the oil revenues. It will be regarded with new respect by all nations around the world as an honorable country who will fight courageously to protect its own sovereign territories. It will discourage any opportunistic looters who might be considering attacking China. It will reestablish the loyalty of allies and reassure them of China’s ability to protect them. It can reject the extortion of concessions of such old enemies as Japan and the US and make them deal with China on a more equal basis with new respect. And it will make the whole region much more secure and conducive to peaceful economic development following China’s leadership.
Finally the argument that China’s economic development will be derailed by China’s going to war is unfounded. I’ve already given the reasons why the cost of fighting the war to the extent of destroying the air force and navies of the four invaders will be minimal. It is also easy to see why China’s overall economic development will not be impacted by war in the S. China Sea or by the hostile reaction of the advanced countries such as Japan, US, EU, etc. On the contrary, by going to war China can set the stage to reduce foreign trade and shift China’s economic development from the opening up by depending on exports to domestic development based on domestic advancement of indigenous technologies while expanding the urbanization of the farmers or rural residents.
It is already very clear that opening up and foreign trade have reached a dead end. China’s GDP growth based on foreign trade had shrunk to just a few percentage point in the last several years while the Chinese economy was kept afloat by the stimulation of the high end housing industry. But the exports cannot be expected to revive since all the importing countries are now economically moribund and the stimulation of the housing industry has led to a dangerous housing bubble. Therefore, China needs to implement a new economic mode of growth which relies on the domestic activities. Since China has vast amounts of mineral resources and can replace many resources that it lacks with others that it has in abundance. For example, China lacks petroleum but it can be replaced as fuel for cars by going to all electric cars that use big batteries using lithium carbonate which China has by the millions of tons and can be enough for hundreds of millions of cars. China has sufficient iron ore reserves to last for almost a hundred years at the current rate of consumption. Furthermore, using domestic iron ore will reduce cost by reducing the cost of foreign iron ore which is around $180 per ton to some $50 per ton of domestic iron ore. Prior to 2003 iron ore cost only less than $15 per ton. Therefore, importing foreign iron ore has increased China’s inflation rate dangerously and needlessly cost trillions of dollars that could have been better used to develop China’s domestic economy.
Therefore, since China’s economic mode must be shifted from foreign trade to domestic development, it is actually conducive for China’s future economic development to reduce foreign trade and stop China’s traitorous opening up which is just selling out in disguise. So if war in the S. China Sea led to a reduction of foreign trade due to foreign embargo, it would actually help China to reform its domestic economic development even faster. So while Japan, the US and EU countries suffer from the reduction or even stoppage of Chinese exports, China can even benefit from the reduction of foreign trade while reducing FDI and cutting back foreign dominance of China’s internal economy. So everything will work out just fine if foreign countries tried to impose economic sanction on China. The world needs China more than China needs it. The world is now parasitizing China’s domestic economy. It is healthful for China to reduce and ultimately eliminate such parasitism.
In the end, as far as China’s economy is concerned, it can be independent and benefit from a reduction of foreign trade and foreign domination of its internal economy. Therefore, no matter what happens in the S. China Sea China’s economy will shift direction and continue to grow. But without China’s cheap exports the foreign countries will suffer greatly from inflation and simple lack of consumer products that will cause discomfort and engender serious discontent among the consumers of foreign countries. And while over the long term other countries can increase their exports to replace Chinese exports yet it will take many years, perhaps decades, and many trillions of dollars of investment in infrastructures which may simply not be available anywhere in the world except in China. Therefore, if China stands firm and implement wise policies it will come out much better no matter how the events in the S. China Sea unfolds following the commencement of war.
Therefore, in going to war, China would not be falling into a trap but would be climbing out of one where it is currently being regarded as a weak and cowardly sick man who is afraid to defend itself. If China stayed in that trap of cowardly reputation then it will have increasingly more problems as many countries will threaten it to extort concessions from it. And China will not be able to establish peace in the region and lead it to common prosperity. Therefore, China must for the sake of itself and for the sake of the region go to war and settle the problem in S. China Sea and establish for itself a new shining reputation of a powerful resurgent nation and a loyal protector for friends and allies. Then it can lead S. E. Asia as a admired and trusted leader to establish peace for the benefit of all.