Huanqiu: South China Sea “a testing point for China’s strategic-opportunity development”

The following is a translation of an editorial, published by Huanqiu Shibao on May 31.

Original headline / main link: America’s increased Patrolling of the South China Sea is doomed to be transitional (美国巡航南海再多,也注定是过客)

A similarly-worded, but less detailed, editorial was also published by the English-language “Global Times”. Neither version was signed.

Links within blockquotes added during translation, not part of the Chinese article. Translations and links may not always reflect the accurate judicial terms – this is a newspaper reader‘s translation, not a lawyer’s — JR

Under the American machinations, the South China Sea issue has heated up somewhat. American defense secretary Mattis said on May 29 that America would continue to unfold “freedom of navigation activities”, and that the American navy would also take other action.

在美国的策动下,南海问题近来有所升温。美国防长马蒂斯29日表示,美国将继续在南海具有争议的岛屿附近开展“航行自由行动”,此外美军还会采取其他行动。

Just as Mattis said the words above two days ago, two American navy vessels entered China Paracel islands’ [Xisha] and reefs’ territorial waters. Australian senator Jim Molan was an even more ear-piercing voice, asserting that only all-out war would expel China from the Spratlys.

就在马蒂斯发表上述谈话的两天前,美国两艘军舰进入了中国西沙群岛的领海。澳大利亚参议员莫兰发出更加刺耳的声音,宣称只有一场全面战争,才能将中国逐出南沙岛屿。

Also, some Philippine media and Western media have hyped Philippine foreign minister Cayatano’s talk to days ago. That foreign minister said that Philippine president Duterte had defined a red line concerning the South China Sea, and to prepare to “fight for the South China Sea”. However, when you read Cayetano’s complete talk carefully, you find that his and Duterte’s attitude are not that extreme.

此外,一些菲律宾媒体和西方媒体炒作菲律宾外长卡耶塔诺的一次讲话,这位外长说菲律宾总统杜特尔特已经为南海问题划设了红线,并且准备好“为南海而战”。然而仔细阅读卡耶塔诺的讲话全文,可以发现他和杜特尔特的态度远非那么激进。

Seen from the perspective of the countries within the South China Sea zone, the situation here remains stable, the differences receive control. But the exercise of American strength in the South China Sea begins to show an increasing frequency. This shows in America’s revoking the invitation of China to the RIMPAC exercises under the pretext of opposing China’s “militarization” of the South China Sea, and by two US Navy vessels dashing into the Paracel Islands’ twelve-nautical-miles zone and similar declarations that seem to foretell more active American provocations.

从南海域内国家的关系角度看,这里的局势继续保持平稳,分歧得到管控。但是美国在南海问题上的发力开始呈现增加之势,标志是美以反对中国在南海搞“军事化”为名取消对中国参加环太平洋军演的邀请,美海军两艘军舰一起闯西沙岛屿12海里以及相关表态似乎在预示美更活跃的挑衅。

The South China Sea’s serving as America’s strategic game point can’t be cooled down in the short term. In the future, its continuous heating up will probably occur with a rising frequency. China needs to prepare well psychologically and make tactical arrangements, with the goal of dealing with America in an orderly and methodical way in the South China Sea.

南海作为中美的战略博弈点很难在短时间内冷却下来,它在今后进一步升温看来是高概率趋势。中国必须对此做好充分的心理准备和策略安排,与美在南海有条不紊地长期周旋。

China needs, first of all, to stabilize relations with the claimant countries, especially Vietnam and the Philippines and so on, it needs to continue control of divisions with these countries, avoid the eruption of sharp conflict with any of these countries, [unable to read]. In this way, America’s and its overseas allies excuses for meddling can be greatly reduced, and it will help to let them understand that giving cause to quarrels and manufacturing tense situations are not welcomed.

中国首先需要稳定好与南海声索国,尤其是与越南、菲律宾等的关系,继续管控好同这些国家的分歧,争取不出现同某一个声索国的尖锐冲突,维系发展作为这一地区主题的局面。这样可以大幅减少美国及其南海域外盟友在这里开展干预行动的借口,也会让它们在南海通过搬弄是非制造紧张局势不受欢迎。

Secondly, China must maintain a bottomline concept, strengthen its ability to serve powerful responses, should extreme US intervention in the South China Sea occur. Apart from the deployment of defensive weaponry on the Spratly islands and reefs, China also needs to build a powerful deensive system that includess naval mobile forces and land-based ans air-borne forces, making sure that, if by any chance, the situation in the South China Sea heatens, we are able to meet the situation head-on and fight back at any level of challenge, and any deck of cards.

第二,中国必须保持底线思维,加强对美国一旦在南海采取极端干预进行强有力反制行动的实力建设。除了在南沙岛礁上部署防御性武器,中国还需构建包括海军移动力量和陆基、空基力量组成的强大威慑系统,确保在万一南海局势升级时我方能够迎头回击任何级别的挑战及摊牌。

Thirdly, with ample strength serving as a backup, China will confidently deal with routine military provocations from America, with the principle of each to their own. American declarations of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea don’t touch China; it goes without saying that navigation is free in South China Sea regular territorial waters, and the psychological pressure America can create with this method is decreasing, and its significance diluted. Time in the South China Sea is measured in Chinese and local time, not in American time.

第三,有充足的实力做后盾,中国要自信地与美国一般性军事挑衅耐心周旋,原则应当是它搞它的,我搞我的。美国在南海宣示航行自由奈何不了中国,南海正常水域的航行本来就是自由的,美方这样做所能施加的心理压力一直在递减,其意义不断被冲淡。南海上记录这个时代的钟表使用的一定是中国和当地时间,而决不会是美国时间。

Sovereignty issues concerning the islands and reefs in the South China sea, and maritime rights and interests, are also a testing point for China’s strategic-opportunity development. China must balance these two issues well, and maintain China’s territorial position, and also, it must avoid taking military measures to achieve this position.

南海存在岛礁主权和海洋权益之争,这里同时是中国发展战略机遇期的一个考验点。中国一定要做好这两个问题的平衡,即坚持中国的领土主张,也决不为实现这一主张采取军事手段。

To solve disputes through talks has long been our stable approach. China must strenghten communication with the claimant countries on the South China Sea sovereignty issue, shape mutual understanding, make all sides feel at ease, make regional countries’ development cooperation build on foundations of emerging and solidifying strategic mutual trust. To this end, it is important to implement the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, to build consensus on standards of negotiations.

通过谈判解决纷争早已是我们的稳定态度,中国要就此与南海主权声索国家加强沟通,形成默契,让各方都安心,使得域内国家的发展合作建立在不断形成并且巩固的战略互信基础之上,为此落实《南海各方行为宣言》,就南海行为准则谈判构建共识都非常重要。

Obviously, navigation in the South China Sea is free, but the South China Sea isn’t a place for countries outside the area to wave about and issue orders, and to show off their military strength. The South China Sea is an important international thoroughfare, but also China’s gate. This means that to China, it needs to be all the more unimpeded. China won’t allow any outisde power to build hostile screenwalls against it here, we have sufficient strength and resolve to persevere until they abandon their harmful attempts against us.

显而易见,南海航行是自由的,但南海不是域外国家指手画脚、耀武扬威的地方。南海是国际大通道,但它同时是中国的家门口,这意味着它对中国来说更必须是畅通的。中国不会允许任何域外力量在这里构建针对中国的敌对性屏障,我们有足够的实力和坚定的意志与任何那样的企图坚决博弈下去,直到它们放弃针对我们的不良企图。

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