China’s War Games in South China Sea Push Against World Order

The Chinese are preparing to dismantle the U.S.-led global order—the very order that enriched and empowered China more than any other nation.

China began five days of large-scale war games in the South China Sea on July 16 in response to an American aircraft carrier and a separate United States destroyer group sailing through the region.

The Hainan Maritime Safety Administration published a navigation warning saying the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s exercises would occur in an area of around 38,600 square miles within the Paracel archipelago.

The announcement came just one day after the U.S.’s Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group navigated through the South China Sea on its first deployment there in 2022. At the same time, the guided-missile destroyer uss Benfold carried out two consecutive freedom-of-navigation operations in the region.

“Our presence in the South China Sea demonstrates America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Capt. Fred Goldhammer, the commanding officer of uss Ronald Reagan, said in a statement.

This is the same broader American commitment that built the global security environment that has allowed trade to flourish worldwide for more than 70 years, leading to decades of the fastest economic growth mankind has ever experienced. It created globalization, which brought advancement to wide swaths of the planet. In his new book, The End of the World Is Just Beginning, Peter Zeihan writes: “[A]ny partner could go anywhere, anytime, interface with anyone, in any economic manner, participate in any supply chain and access any material input—all without needing a military escort.”

The result was extended life-spans for billions and the modern world of “advanced transport and finance, of ever-present food and energy, of never-ending improvements and mind-bending speed,” Zeihan writes.

Last week’s operations by the Reagan and the Benfold show that, though America’s commitment to this global model has waned considerably in recent years, it is not entirely gone.

The Chinese were among the primary beneficiaries of this U.S.-built global order, and arguably the number one beneficiary. After all, in just one generation China went from a destitute agrarian nation to the world’s second-largest economy. One astute Chinese commentator admitted as much, writing:

A large part of the world has prospered under such an arrangement [under U.S. global leadership]. The relative peace around the globe and the systems that govern international trade and finance have facilitated rapid economic growth in many developing nations …. [These nations] are essentially free riders, of which China is the biggest and most successful one.

But under General Secretary Xi Jinping, the Chinese have come to feel that they have taken all they can from the American-led global system. Now it is time for China to dominate first its neighborhood and then the world. As part of this mentality, the Chinese now claim nearly the entire South China Sea as their territory, and they see U.S. freedom-of-navigation operations in the Indo-Pacific as affronts, emblems of a fading era they are bent on conclusively ending.

Chinese state media called last week’s American naval activity an “escalated provocation.” The Global Times quoted Chinese pundit Song Zhongping saying such U.S. operations were intended to “provoke China in its core interests, create crises, and hype tensions with the strategic goal of containing China.”

In reality, such operations are only meant to keep the seas free and open to all—rather than letting China control them for exclusionary and selfish purposes. But China’s leaders have made clear that they intend to make this the “Chinese century.” So the Global Times noted that Beijing has DF-21D and DF-26 antiship ballistic missiles deployed in the area, which it called “aircraft carrier killers.” The Chinese war games now underway should be viewed as practice for the day when these and other weapons are turned against America’s efforts to keep the South China Sea free and open.

China wants the U.S. and the world to know that day is coming.

Some may argue that it is mainly bluster. But Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said that China’s increasing aggression in the South China Sea is indeed “steering the world toward war.” In our July 2016 issue, he wrote:

Since [the end of] World War ii, America protected this vital trade route and brought peace to this part of the world. Now the American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. … China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. It is forcing these countries to do what it wants. Everything is headed in the direction of war.

Mr. Flurry’s analysis of the South China Sea dynamic is based on specific Bible prophecies about the modern age. Ezekiel 4 describes a time just before a third world war erupts. Verse 3 reads, “[S]et thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.”

Regarding this scripture, Mr. Flurry wrote: “The ‘house of Israel’ primarily refers not to Jews, but to the modern descendants of Israel, specifically the United States and Britain. Here is pictured a siege against the house of Israel.”

Isaiah 23 provides more details about this economic siege. It shows that a brief economic alliance will form between certain major Asian powers and a German-led European bloc. In verse 3, Isaiah calls this Eurasian alliance “a mart of nations.” Mr. Flurry explained that it will form mainly in order to economically besiege modern-day America and Britain:

The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America. This is where China and the other giants of Asia enter the picture. Considering that China now possesses most of the world’s strategic sea gates (at one time held by Britain and America), the German-led Holy Roman Empire will need to form a brief alliance with the Asian powers identified in Isaiah 23 ….

This is why China’s moves to militarize the South China Sea should be so concerning.

China’s increasing militarization and aggression in the South China Sea is leading to the fulfillment of this prophecy. China is intimidating the less powerful countries in the region with the goal of eventually cutting off America’s and other nations’ access to the South China Sea. “Soon America will find it impossible to import oil and other necessities,” Mr. Flurry wrote.

To understand where China’s dangerous takeover of the South China Sea is leading, read Mr. Flurry’s article “China Is Steering the World Toward War.”