Right now they don't have such an excuse and that's why there is still peace and quiet because a Western consensus cannot be reached in the face of China's strength and global community (datong) proposals.
So China has to make sacrifices on the practical level with the Philippines and now possibly with Japan too.
Another practical reason that tips the balance against our use of force is that we are developing economically-feasible technology to explore environmentally-clean resources such as Flammable Ice which is within the reach of very few other countries, at a time when every nation should be environmentally responsible to the global community.
Anthropologists did extensive studies on high primates' social behavior and they found that chimpanzees in general enjoyed a far more peaceful social network than other primates and they had performed the best on the survival-of-the-fittest scale, and their collective harmony with nature accounted for the fact that one of their genealogical branches evolved into humans (Homo sapiens).
At the level of nations, aggressive use of violence -- especially the kind used when a nation has the upper hand and feels most tempted to do so -- is counterproductive because such violence is logistically non-sustainable.
Just look at all the conquering armies of Assyrians, Athens, Sparta, Romans, Ottomans, Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, French, British, Germans, Japanese, Soviets and now the Americans -- historically any nation that uses aggressive violence to enforce its hegemony had ended up in failure.
That's because there is this intrinsic physical law in our universe that dictates against Hegemony Without Honey. The days when Americans could take a joking stab in the ribs and laugh at themselves are gone. Those were the halcyon days when Americans could call themselves "Ugly Americans," worked hard and were at least gracious to their ladies.
They were the most innovative and most globalized in their aspirations, and for about five seconds they were on the right side of history -- remember that the first transnational company was American.
Now they have shootings almost every week, try to hide from their debtors at the UN, withdrawn from nearly all major international engagements and are beating up their ladies when they are too lazy to work at sweaty manufacturing jobs. America is sick to the core and expects China to foot the bill for the medications through levying tariffs against the latter's nominally "unfair" trade practices.
The only thing unfair about China's trade practice is that for far too long her industrious, highly-intelligent workers have made too many personal sacrifices (like left-alone children and many other social problems) to manufacture affordable goods for average American -- in the process enriching America's transnational companies while still getting blamed for their back-breaking efforts.