(By NBC News)

China will not start a war over disputed islands in the South China Sea amid recent muscle-flexing, experts with close links to the country’s government told NBC News.

Beijing says it wants to preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea

“We will not initiate military conflict to recover islands illegally occupied by other countries,” said Wu Shicun, the former foreign affairs chief of Hainan province, an island in the South China Sea.

“Our stand is to resort to negotiations [with] the countries directly involved, to resolve the territorial and maritime disputes,” Wu said.

Shi Yinhong, a senior foreign policy scholar at Renmin University of China and foreign policy adviser to the government, agreed with Wu that Beijing was unlikely to “launch unprovoked war.” Read More

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