China has opened a new front in the battle for control of the South China Sea: video games.
The Chinese military has released a first-person large-scale video game called "Glorious Mission," that allows players to take the reigns of China's military ships and planes as they battle potential enemies from Japan and elsewhere.
The Chinese military announced the release at the same time it said its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, would carry out its first research and training voyage in the open sea, alongside a missile destroyer and frigate, close to Japanese territory. Last year I traveled aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson to document the 21st-century Great Game that's unfolding in the Asia Pacific. The region accounts for more than half the world’s population and many emerging powers. Some, such as China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, are nuclear-armed rivals who have battled before.
While there were no immediate details on how to download or play "Glorious Mission," a report on Huanqiu.com said players would enjoy "rich and wonderful fierce battles," as well as "the ups and downs of the story of the war, touching story of the earthquake, the free combination of weapons and skills, as well as China's first aircraft carrier maps, guarding the Diaoyu Islands and many other innovative content."
Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at The Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead