(Reuters) - China should prepare itself for military confrontation in the South China Sea, an influential Chinese paper said on Tuesday, a week ahead of a decision by an international court on a dispute there between China and the Philippines.
Tensions have been rising ahead of a July 12 ruling by an arbitration court hearing the argument between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea in the Dutch city of The Hague.
In joint editorials in its Chinese and English editions, the state-run Global Times said the dispute, having already been complicated by U.S. intervention, now faces further escalation due to the threat posed by the tribunal to China's sovereignty.
"Washington has deployed two carrier battle groups around the South China Sea, and it wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles: As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China's obedience," it said.
China should speed up developing its military deterrence abilities, the paper added.
"Even though China cannot keep up with the U.S. militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the U.S. pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force," it said.
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