A week ago, China made it very clear to the US that while it is happy to preserve cordial relations and smile on photo ops, it had no problems with taking the US to task, and even the battlefield, financial or conventional, should the US - having lost most of its credibility in recent years - dare to interfere. It said it so clearly only an idiot could have misread it: "A conflict between China and United States will definitely be a disaster for the two countries and the world,” Xi said. “As long as we uphold mutual respect, maintain strategic patience and remain unperturbed by individual incidents and comments, we’ll be able to keep relations on a firm footing despite ups and downs that may come our way.”
Sadly, since these days US foreign policy indeed appears to be run by idiots, instead of staying out of China's way, the US responded by kicking the tiger in the teeth and escalated even further when it was reported that the US was unleashing even more military forces in China's back yard, and is developing new military tactics to deter China’s slow but steady territorial advances in the South China Sea, including more aggressive use of surveillance aircraft and naval operations near contested areas.
Ok, so the US can't take a hint. So it is up to China to explain again. Which it did earlier today when it warned the United States, in no uncertain terms, to stay out of disputes over the South China Sea and leave countries in the region to resolve problems themselves, after Washington said it wanted a freeze on stoking tension.
China's Foreign Ministry repeated that it had irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, where most of the competing claims overlap, and that China continued to demand the immediate withdrawal of personnel and equipment of countries which were "illegally occupying" China's islands.
"What is regretful is that certain countries have in recent years have strengthened their illegal presence through construction and increased arms build up," the ministry said in a statement.
In case it was not clear how far China is willing to go, here is another explanation for the US state depratment: "China would resolutely protect its sovereignty and maritime rights and had always upheld resolving the issue based on direct talks with the countries involved "on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law", it added.
And since China is aware it is dealing with John Kerry, it explained one final time: China "hopes that countries outside the region strictly maintain their neutrality, clearly distinguish right from wrong and earnestly respect the joint efforts of countries in the region to maintain regional peace and stability", it added, in reference to the United States.
Not surprisingly, the US toed the party line: Michael Fuchs, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs, said no country was solely responsible for escalating tension in the region. But he reiterated the U.S. view that "provocative and unilateral" behavior by China had raised questions about its willingness to abide by international law.
That said, now that China has very clearly warned to stay out of its national interest zone, one wonders just how many US aircraft carriers will find their way into the East and South China sea to make sure China is antagonized some more, and a full blown conflict truly erupts. In the meantime, keep an eye on the BRICS bank we reported about yesterday, because while the US pretends its entire economy isn't merely riding on the coattails of the biggest asset bubble ever inflated, the part of the world that is actually productive is already planning for what happens once said bubble - as implicitly confirmed by Yellen earlier - bursts.