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The stealth-enhanced 2,100-ton ships, equipped with an array of advanced weapons including SS-N-25 anti-ship missiles, are ideal for shore patrol and interdiction operations.

Vietnam also has invited Indian naval ships for port calls at its Cam Ranh Bay naval base, which has made China unhappy.

FINANCIAL WEAPONS

Within 72 hours of the decision by Standard and Poor’s to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, the People’s Daily newspaper, the official Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, published a column by the paper’s editor, Ding Gang, with the glaring title: “China Must Punish U.S. for Taiwan Arm Sales with ‘Financial Weapons.’ “

The opening line of this battle cry read: “Now is the time for China to use its ‘financial weapons’ to teach the United States a lesson if it moves forward with a plan to sell arms to Taiwan.”

What Mr. Ding proposes is for a massive sell-off of $1.1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds purchased by China.

But wouldn’t this be suicidal for China’s economy, too?

No matter, Mr. Ding says, with this punitive action, “U.S. treasuries will lose value, which will also affect the value of China’s U.S. treasury holdings. However, as the situation [with congressional advocacy for arms sales to Taiwan] has gotten out of hand, allowing Washington politicians to continue their game might lead to more losses.”

Miles Yu’s column appears Thursdays. He can be reached a mmilesyu@gmail.com.