China holds on to the claim that its preparations and intimidations, which have included cable cuttings, pursuits, and some shots fired, are strictly defensive. Nonetheless the nations involved are intimidated, and continue to look to the United States for support.
Retired Philippine Navy Commodore and analyst Rex Robles concedes, "Even if we are three times more prepared than we are now, we [would be] defeated because China...can blow us out of the water easily." But, he insists, a war with China would be costly to all involved, "If war breaks out there, China's development will also be stunted," he told reporters, "China's resources are quite huge, but maybe not enough to sustain a war there."
Vietnam will be prepared for a drawn out war, having additionally placed an order for six diesel-electric "Project 636" Varshavyanka submarines, for a total of $2 billion; the submarine delivery is expected in about three years.