Will China wage small-scale war with Philippines?

The standoff between the Chinese and Philippine navies continue over the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing: As the standoff between the Chinese and Philippine navies continue over the disputed islands in the South China Sea, a state run Chinese daily has said that Beijing should be prepared to wage a "small scale war" with Manila, besides imposing sanctions.

"China should be prepared to engage in a small-scale war at sea with the Philippines", state run Global Times said in an editorial over the ongoing standoff between the navies of China and Philippines over the Huangyan Island or Scarborough Shoal in the SCS claimed by both the countries.

"Once the war erupts, China must take resolute action and deliver a clear message to the outside world that it does not want a war, but definitely has no fear of it.”

“Nevertheless, such a war cannot put the SCS to an end", it said.

"Cold treatment to Manila should last for a certain period. China needs to undertake losses from ensuing sanctions on Manila. Protecting islands in the SCS is not an empty slogan. It calls for our patience, costs and perseverance", the editorial said.

SCS disputes involving China and a host of East Asian countries including Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan flared up in recent months as US extended its firm backing to the small countries ranged against Beijing to assert their maritime rights.

China has also protested to India and Russia over their companies taking oil exploration contracts in the blocs claimed by Vietnam in SCS.

The editorial in the daily came as China has sent its most advanced fishery patrol ship to the uninhabited island stating that its aim is to protect from the harassment of the Philippine naval gunboats.

The 2,580-tonne Yuzheng-310 set sail from the southern port city of Guangzhou to protect China`s territorial waters and ensure the safety of Chinese fishermen a statement released by the SCS Fishery Bureau said.

"In the period of time that follows, the ship will go on regular patrols, help Chinese fishermen in the area and look into other issues concerning fishing activity there," it said.

The Yuzheng-310 is equipped with advanced marine technology and has the ability to carry helicopters.

Dai Yudao, a local official from the fishing town of Tanmen in China’s Hainan province, said more than 700 of the town`s fishermen have been arrested, robbed, assaulted or rudely asked to leave by the armed forces of neighbouring countries while fishing in the South China Sea over the last 12 years.

In the most recent case, twelve Chinese fishing boats were harassed on April 10 by a Philippine Navy gunboat while taking refuge from harsh weather in a lagoon near Huangyan Island, official China Daily reported.

The incident led to a diplomatic spat between the two countries with China lodging protest to Manila over the incident.

Meanwhile, China released 21 Vietnamese fishermen and their two fishing boats after detaining them for over a month for fishing at Xisha/Paracel Islands claimed by both the countries.

The fishermen were released after they guaranteed in writing not to infringe on China`s maritime rights in its territorial waters, the South China Sea Fishery Bureau said.