US President Barack Obama has "everything but the guts" to challenge China's claims in the South China sea, and its recent warship maneuvers are "bragging about its military prowess at China's doorstep," the Chinese ruling Communist Party's Global Times said in a Thursday editorial.
The US Navy's USS Lassen patrol ship breached Chinese waters on Wednesday, coming within 13 miles of a disputed Chinese island in the South China Sea. Chinese media initially made a restrained response to the violation of its waters, but ramped it up as US officials said that they would continue the practice.
"It is hard to believe that these shortsighted wonks have not considered China's response, like Beijing has no cards to play. If it wasn't for our restraint, China could have driven away every Filipino and Vietnamese from the islands they took from China, but it didn't. Almost every move China has made in the South China Sea is a response to the provocations of these aggressors," the article said.
"Washington should keep in mind that it really doesn't want China to transform these reclaimed islands into outposts to deal with the intrusions by US warships," the Global Times article added.
While Chinese media made a restrained response against the violation, it transitioned to less veiled threats of militarizing the islands, as well as mockery of US President Obama, who would not respond to the moves.
"Even in the worst scenario, if China decided to militarize all these small islands, what could the US do? Perhaps US President Barack Obama will have everything but the guts to wage a real battle with China for these small islands," the article said.
In Chinese social media, meanwhile, netizens believed that it was already time to act.
"[The Americans] are at our doorstep. Denouncing them again is useless," one user wrote on China's Sina Weibo social network, reflecting the general mood, according to AFP.