Chinese analyst Gao Zhikai said in a video posted on the Global Times YouTube channel on December 14, 2023, that the U.S. is trying to use the Philippines as a proxy to provoke tensions in the South China Sea, but that the U.S. should not instigate China because the two countries are powerful enough to destroy each other several times over. He said that the American defense and intelligence establishment knows what the consequences of a military operation against China would be. In addition, he said that China will stand firmly in defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the Filipinos should not "indulge any fantasies" that if war breaks out, they will somehow be on the winning side.
Gao Zhikai: "Now the Philippines felt emboldened by the United States. Purely between China and the United States, I don't the Philippines would want to do the obvious extreme actions. But it's very apparent that the United States was looking for an instigation point [to] try to lead to an explosion of tension and they thought in the South China Sea, the Philippines could be used as a proxy of the United States. I don't think the United States really wants to enter into a real show of force with China in the South China Sea involving the Ren'ai Reef, because eventually it's not going to be of any constructive significance to the United States at all. And therefore when the Philippines claimed that they want to expel the Chinese Ambassador in Manila, I hope they will really think twice because if they do that, they will trigger the expulsion of the Filipino Ambassador in China. And this kind of mutual expulsion or even the termination of diplomatic relations will not serve any constructive and useful purpose for China and Philippines, to start with.
"If war breaks out between China and the United States, you never know whether or when or how it will end. Both countries are armed to the teeth.
"Not only in terms of conventional weapons, but also in terms of nuclear weapons. Both countries can destroy each other multiple times. Does Washington really want to test the water in instigating a war between China and the United States? No. I hope not. I hope President Biden, the U.S. military, the Pentagon, the U.S. intelligence, you name it, will know the consequence of any reckless military provocation against China.
"China is well-positioned to pursue peace. And we want to talk with the Philippines in peaceful ways to resolve whatever problems involving territorial disputes. I don't think Manila wants to go to the extreme of launching a futile military operation against China or even betting that the United States will be dragged into this war by the Philippines, or the Philippines will be turned into a proxy of the United States.
"Whether in peace or in war, China will stand very firmly to defend sovereignty and territorial integrity. I don't think anyone in the Philippines should indulge in any fantasy that if war breaks out, the Filipinos will be on the winning side."