CHINA TOPIX

Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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President Xi Resists Calls From Military for Armed Response to the US in the South China Sea

Commander-in-Chief  Xi Jinping  Resists Calls from Military to Use Armed Response Towards US in South China Sea

(Photo : Getty Images) Commander-in-Chief Xi Jinping is under pressure to make a military response to the US and its allies as well as claimant nations in the South China Sea dispute.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly being pressured by high-ranking officers within the military to make an armed response to the United States and its regional allies following an international tribunal ruling denying Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, a source in the military told Reuters over the weekend.

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Xi, the current commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), reportedly is reportedly not amenable to this approach, opting for peaceful settlement of the maritime territorial dispute.

The source said Beijing has not shown any signs of using military force to settle the South China Sea dispute but instead, has taken the diplomatic route such as the planned bilateral talks with the Philippines. At the same time, China has vowed to defend its sovereignty to the disputed sea.

As Beijing pushes for diplomatic measures to resolve the dispute, some quarters in the Chinese military have allegedly been urging Xi to take on a military approach to deal with the US and claimant-nations in the region.

"The People's Liberation Army is ready," one source with ties to the military told Reuters.

Serious clash

The source said the PLA's hardened stance on the Hague-based court ruling increases the likelihood of serious clashes in the region should any provocative incidents occur in the strategic waterway.

Another source told Reuters that the PLA is raring to confront the US and claimants nations in the region following Beijing's loss at the arbitration court.

"The United States will do what it has to do. We will do what we have to do," the source said. "The entire military side has been hardened. It was a huge loss of face."

International law

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that there is no legal basis for China's expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea under its so-called nine-dash line.

The court ruled that Beijing violated international law and the Philippines' rights to explore its exclusive economic zone by building facilities on the Mischief Reef.

Beijing boycotted the court proceedings saying the court had no jurisdiction over the case filed by the Philippines.

Beijing also rejected the ruling calling it a "complete farce" and "null and void."

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