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European navies hold stronger China deterrent than first appears

Long-term engagement in Indo-Pacific changes Beijing's military calculus

From left, the USS Curtis Wilbur, the JS Hamana and the FS Prairial conduct a joint training mission off the western coast of the Japanese island of Kyushu on Feb. 19 in a move seen as a message from the U.S., Japan and France to China. (Source photos by AP and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force/Kyodo)

TOKYO -- When a country flouts international rules, the world's powers respond with a particular pattern of escalation.

First, they condemn the actions with news conferences and statements. If this criticism does not bite, they impose economic sanctions to drive home their point. As a further step, they exert military pressure if needed, including dispatching warships.

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