It's almost official: China and Vietnam are going to fight over the Spratlys. Blood will be shed. Turf and bragging rights are at stake. Economic control over the South China Sea will be determined. Who will win? Will China be too much for little Vietnam, or will the little guy whip the big bully? Article below: HANOI: The prime minister of Vietnam has signed an order on eligibility for military conscription, at a time of high maritime tension with China, the official army newspaper reported on Tuesday. The decree is not a mobilisation order but clarifies who will be exempt from military service in the event of war, including key government officials and men with no siblings, Quan Doi Nhan Dan said. It will take effect on August 1. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed the document on Monday, the same day Vietnam's navy said it conducted about nine hours of live-fire artillery training in the tense South China Sea. Hanoi is sending a message to China that Vietnam "has significantly upped the ante in this dispute," said Ian Storey, a security analyst with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. "Tensions have never been higher in the South China Sea," he said. Relations between Vietnam and fellow communist China have sunk to their lowest point in years following recent sea confrontations which reignited a row over sovereignty of the potentially oil-rich Paracel and Spratly archipelagos. In comments published last week, Dung said Vietnam was determined to protect the "incontestable" sovereignty of the islands. Analysts believe the possibility of a clash between the two sides has risen, although Beijing said on Tuesday that it would not use or threaten force in the South China Sea. Vietnam has said it wants to see a peaceful resolution and adherence to international laws. The situation escalated in late May after Vietnam accused China of violating its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Hanoi said three Chinese marine surveillance vessels severed the exploration cables of a Vietnamese oil survey ship, allegedly violating the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Last week Vietnam accused a Chinese fishing boat of deliberately ramming the cables of another oil survey ship in the zone. Beijing has warned Vietnam to halt all activities that it says violate China's sovereignty in the disputed area. Vietnamese bitterly recall 1,000 years of Chinese occupation and, more recently, a 1979 border war - the last time Hanoi ordered a general military mobilisation for people aged 18-45. According to Vietnam's 2009 defence white paper, the latest available, the country of about 86 million has 450,000 active military personnel and a reserve of five million. More than 70 Vietnamese sailors were killed in 1988 in a brief naval battle with China off the Spratlys. Anyone care to chime in on this? Methinks that the Chinese are gearing up for a show of force and are going to go all out to let the world know they are a military force to be reckoned with. This will be a war where China can bring her might to the battlefield. China cannot project power overseas very well, not until they get a few aircraft carriers one of which is already almost complete, but with a land route into nearby nations, she can flood the battlefield with division after division, like she did in Korea. Vietnam never could defeat the US on the battlefield, even with the USA having a huge logistics tail during that fight and the US lacking the political will to cut loose on North Vietnam for many years. Against China, Vietnam is well fucked. China can move in a LOT of manpower, and I doubt China will show the same restraint you Americans did. China will suffer staggering losses and never even blink. Also, Vietnam no longer has the USSR to beef up her military. She must be quite a bit leaner these days. Thoughts?