The Facts

  • On Tuesday, China's military stated that it repelled a US guided-missile cruiser that "illegally intruded" near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea — an allegation that the US Navy rebuked.

  • Tian Junli, a spokesperson for the PRC's Southern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, stated that "the actions of the US military seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security," stressing that this incident was "another ironclad proof" of its attempt to militarize the area.

The Spin

Pro-China narrative

China has the right to defend its territorial waters from any foreign intrusion. The US has consistently provoked Beijing in the South China Sea — a territory to which China has a strong historic claim — as it seeks to undermine Chinese regional sovereignty. Indeed, the US fears the PRC's growing military capabilities and acts aggressively.

Anti-China narrative

China's territorial claims to the South China Sea are shaky at best. It's China that continues to create problems where none existed in the first place. Though Beijing claims that its military posture is purely defensive, the PRC's aggressive tendencies towards its neighbors and the US says otherwise. China will have to reverse the dangerous course it's taking in the region.

Nerd narrative

There's a 5% chance that there will be an armed conflict in the South China Sea before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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