BEIJING — A state-run Chinese newspaper has claimed the country is "not afraid to fight a war" with the U.S.
"In face of the U.S. harassment, Beijing should deal with Washington tactfully and prepare for the worst,” according to the editorial in the Global Times, which came just a day after an American destroyer sailed into disputed waters in an open challenge to Beijing. The newspaper is known to represent the more extreme and nationalistic views of China’s political establishment.
"This can convince the White House that China, despite its unwillingness, is not afraid to fight a war with the U.S. in the region, and is determined to safeguard its national interests and dignity,” it added.
Anger over the U.S.'s move in the South China Sea dominated the headlines of major newspapers in China Wednesday.
The Global Times, which part of the same newspaper group as the ruling Chinese Communist Party's flagship People’s Daily, declared that “no country, the U.S. included, is able to obstruct Beijing’s island reclamation in the region."
China says virtually all of the South China Sea belongs to it — including at least a half dozen dredged islands. One of them includes a recently completed two-mile airstrip.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the waters.
On Tuesday, the destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12-nautical miles limits of Subi Reef, which is part of a series of artificial islands built by China. The ship did not encounter any resistance, but was trailed by Chinese ships during the transit, a U.S. defense official told NBC News. It also triggered an angry response from Beijing.