China "must be prepared" for any military confrontation in the South China Sea, the country's Global Times newspaper said in an editorial Tuesday.
Manila is contesting China's expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, which the Philippines contends are invalid under international law.
China however has said the arbitration tribunal has "no jurisdiction" over the matter and will resolve such disputes directly with the countries involved.
Control of the region is valuable because more than $5 trillion worth of global trade passes through the South China Sea each year, and China has been accused of ramping up tensions over control in recent years by building artificial islands on reefs, on which it has added airstrips and other military-style installations.
Global Times said the dispute had been "greatly complicated" by heavy U.S. intervention and the involvement of the international tribunal.
"Washington has deployed two carrier battle groups around the South China Sea, and it wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles: As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China's obedience," said the paper.