Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the People’s Liberation Army to “prepare for combat” as a measure against possible hostile U.S. action in the South China Sea after an international tribunal ruled that Beijing had no exclusive control over the area. “The Permanent Court of Arbitration said there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources,” reports the BBC.

China responded by labeling the ruling “ill-founded” and refused to be bound by it. However, behind the scenes, Xi Jinping fears that the U.S. could seize on the ruling to justify aggressive military maneuvers in the area and has ordered PLA forces to prepare for war. FULL REPORT