Beijing: Upcoming joint US-South Korean naval
drills have sparked an unexpected outcry from Chinese
nationalists, whose fiery rhetoric has been stoked by their
country`s rising economic strength and global clout.
While North Korea often issues diatribes condemning the
routine war games off South Korea, this time, it was Chinese
blogs and websites that exploded in anger at word that an
American aircraft carrier might join the drills, bringing it
close to Chinese waters. Some hawks even urged their country`s
military to make its own show of force.
"China should cover the Yellow Sea with ships and
missiles and open fire and drive them back should the American
military dare invade our territorial waters," a commentary on
the popular ccvic.com news website demanded, though Beijing
has given no sign it will make any military response.
Such nationalist rhetoric jibes with a growing
outspokenness among ranking members of the People`s Liberation
Army that is stirring concern abroad and could hamper China`s
quest to be regarded as a rising _ and responsible _ member of
While Chinese nationalism has been growing for the better
part of two decades, the unusually vociferous response this
time reflected a sense among Chinese that their soaring
economy and rising profile on the international scene deserve
The challenge for the country`s leadership: Find a way to
assuage nationalistic sentiments and assert newfound global
influence while maintaining stable ties with Washington and a
placid regional environment.