After years of aggressive expansion throughout the South China Sea, government-owned media outlets within China are now working to establish a new narrative to justify the building and militarization of islands within contested waters. China’s waterway enveloping claims have long been associated with the massive amounts of commercial travel and extremely valuable natural resources held within the South China Sea, but following a freedom of navigation voyage of a U.S. vessel last week, China is now trying to present their militarization of international waters as a response to American provocations instead.
According to an editorial published in the government-owned Global Times and authored under a pen-name that translates to “Voice of China,” the newspaper accused the U.S. Navy of provoking the Chinese military with their voyages through areas the international community recognized as international waters.
“Against this backdrop of peace and cooperation, a U.S. ship wantonly provoking trouble is singleminded to the point of recklessness,” the paper said.
“If the relevant party once more makes trouble out of nothing and causes tensions, then it will only cause China to reach this conclusion: in order to earnestly protect peace in the South China Sea, China must strengthen and speed up the building of its abilities there,” it said.