China’s leadership is resisting pressure from elements within the military for a stronger response to an international court’s ruling over South China Sea claims, Reuters reported, citing sources.
Wary of provoking a clash with the US, the government is reluctant to step up the ante after a court in The Hague last month rejected China’s maritime claims, the sources were quoted as saying.
China has denounced the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled on July 12 that Beijing has no legal basis to claim historic rights in the South China Sea.
Following the setback, some elements within China’s military are pushing for a stronger response aimed at the US and its regional allies, sources told Reuters.
“The People’s Liberation Army is ready,” one source with ties to the Chinese military was quoted as saying.
“We should go in and give them a bloody nose like Deng Xiaoping did to Vietnam in 1979,” the source said, referring to China’s brief invasion of Vietnam to punish Hanoi for forcing Beijing’s ally the Khmer Rouge from power in Cambodia.
However, the Chinese leadership, led by Xi Jinping, is moving cautiously as it feels that China needs a stable external environment as it deals with its own development issues, including a slowing economy.
It is unlikely that Beijing will make any significant move ahead of Xi’s hosting of a G20 summit in September, the report said.
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