Chinese media mounts all out propaganda offensive against the Philippines

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By Willy Lam,

Judging by the rhetoric of the official Chinese media and military commentators, the Chinese Communist Party authorities seem to be readying a small-scale naval skirmish to “teach the Philippines a lesson.”

Two Chinese surveillance ships near the Scarborough Shoal, a small group of rocky formations whose sovereignty is contested by the Philippines and China, in the South China Sea. / Reuters / Philippines Army

Yet at the same time, Beijing is brandishing non-military solutions, such as joint development of oil and gas in areas close to the disputed islets in the South China Sea — provided that Manila would at least in theory not dispute Chinese sovereignty.

Whether Beijing can seize the initiative through waging what analysts call a policy of “deliberate ambiguity” is a good test of the effectiveness of China’s much-vaunted quasi-superpower diplomacy.

Beijing has rolled out a propaganda offensive to prepare its citizens — and foreign governments — for a possible naval battle with the Philippines.

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