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Chinese State Media Warns Of ‘Inevitable’ War With US

Despite stringent warnings from the United States not to proceed with an aggressive naval strategy, on Tuesday, China unveiled plans to build two lighthouses in the South China Sea.

At the same time, an oped published in the state-run Global Times stated that unless Washington backs down, conflict may be ‘inevitable.’

China’s State Council also issued a whitepaper saying that it will expand military capabilities in the region to include offensive measures, in addition to already existing defensive measures, Reuters reports.  China’s Second Artillery Corps intends to bolster its ability for nuclear counterattacks and long-range precision strikes.

Yet the paper also promised that “China will never seek hegemony or expansion.”

According to Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the lighthouses will assist in disaster relief and maritime search and rescue. China has used these same claims elsewhere as the justification for building artificial islands.

“Some external countries are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs. A tiny few maintain constant close-in air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China,” the whitepaper stated in an oblique reference to recent U.S. activity. However, China officially denied that the whitepaper came in reaction to U.S. surveillance. Last week, the U.S. deployed the P8-A Poseidon aircraft over China’s artificial islands, which dipped as low as 15,000 feet.

The Chinese Navy scrambled to respond, quickly sending a radio transmission telling the aircraft to “go away.” (RELATED: China Warns US EIGHT Times Not To Fly Over Artificial Islands In South China Sea)

Japan is set to join the U.S. and Australia in a joint military exercise for the first time ever, in an effort to foster ties. All three argue have a strong interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in a region which generates $5 trillion a year in trade. Aside from shipping routes is the presence of fishing grounds and the possibility of oil and gas.

In the past, experts argued that because of economic interdependence between the U.S. and China, war was not a likely prospect. That consensus is starting to slowly break down, owing to an increasing number of aggressive officials in the Chinese government. Vice President Joe Biden recently stated that in 2020, the plan is to move 60 percent of the U.S. Navy over to the Asia Pacific region. A projection from IHS Janes Defense placed the level of defense spending in the region at $52 billion dollars by 2020.

Both the U.S. and China continue to hold that the other is responsible for any instability in the region.

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