China has upped its military posturing, issuing a strategy paper saying Beijing would “surely counterattack if attacked” by an enemy amid concerns from the US and neighbouring countries over its developments in the South China Sea. The release of the document came shortly after Beijing lodged a complaint against the US for flying a surveillance jet over disputed territory in the South China Sea, where China is building artificial islands.

Chinese state media reported that the white paper, issued by the state council, the country’s cabinet, underscored that Beijing was committed to world peace and believed that a world war was unlikely. But it added that “small-scale wars, conflicts and crises are recurrent in some regions”. The state-owned news agency Xinhua highlighted one particular phrase, which appeared in the “Strategic Guideline of Active Defence” section: “We will not attack unless attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.” FULL REPORT