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China Rips into Brits’ Plan for Gunboat Diplomacy in South China Sea; ‘Remember the Opium War’

July 29, 2017 (EIRNS)—The official Chinese Communist Party paper Global Times’ editorial today blasts the announcement by both U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during a visit to Australia on July 27, and by U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon on the same day, that Britain will be using its two new aircraft carriers to patrol the South China Sea. Johnson said that the operation was intended to uphold

“the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade.”

Fallon said that Britain would not be constrained by China from sailing through the South China Sea, according to Global Times.

The editorial, referring to the start of the British Empire’s Opium Wars, continued: “It is no longer 1840. There are no longer any British colonies in East Asia and the presence of Britain’s warship in the region is more like ‘an aberration.’ ”

The daily recalls that the previous Cameron administration pledged a “golden decade for the U.K.-China relationship and viewed China as its major partner for economic cooperation.” But,

“Britain’s national strength today is even weaker than when it went to war with Argentina in 1982. And Britain has no capacity to mobilize troops to fight a ‘New Opium War’ with China off the China coast.”

They repeat the obvious—there is no threat to freedom of navigation in the region, but only a “brutal and arrogant response” to China’s rise.

“Today, the biggest threat in the South China Sea comes from the provocation to China by military forces outside the region. Britain should be aware that if the country’s new aircraft carriers are sent to patrol the South China Sea, the Chinese will view it as a provocation.”

The editorial also notes that Australia has recently “acted hysterically against China regarding the issue,” although China has done nothing to provoke Australia.