Japanese-Chinese War In The East China Sea?
January 10, 2013
Japan tracer bullets will bring war closer
According to Japanese media, the Japanese government is considering permitting Japanese self-defense forces’ fighter jets to fire tracer bullets as warning shots against Chinese surveillance planes which have “infringed” upon Japan’s “territorial airspace” over the Diaoyu Islands.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday that China has consistently opposed Japan’s infringement upon China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. China “remains vigilant against attempts to escalate the tensions.”
The Chinese spokesman’s statement is not enough to express the Chinese people’s strong determination to fight back against Japan’s unscrupulous action.
We believe that if Japan starts using tracer bullets, it will definitely trigger a military confrontation between China and Japan. Chinese people will certainly ask the government to send naval and air forces to retaliate.
Tracer bullets were used by Japan to warn Soviet Union surveillance aircraft above the Okinawa Prefecture in 1987. However, the relationship between the Soviet Union and Japan was one of war and invasion. The Diaoyu Islands are a typical disputed area.
We believe that China is carefully assessing plans to deploy combat aircraft to the Diaoyu Islands due to the imbalance between China’s surveillance aircraft and Japan’s fighter jets. If Japan uses tracer bullets, Chinese fighter jets are bound to be sent to the Diaoyu Islands.
China’s replacing surveillance aircraft with fighter jets does not mean they will conduct military operations there. These are upgrades of China’s ability to defend its sovereignty in the face of Japan’s provocations. All of East Asia would face tension in that scenario, but we have no choice. We do not wish to begin a war with Japan. However, if Japan insists on provocations, we will follow it through to the end.
If the Chinese government does not earnestly prepare for it, it will certainly suffer huge political losses. The public wouldn’t understand that and they would not accept any interpretations by the government.
China may fall into military conflict with Japan eventually. We hope we can continue our peaceful development, but our risk management strategies are more complex due to various pressures.
There is little room for concessions. Therefore, let us abandon all hesitation and seriously prepare for mutual warnings and confrontation with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands. If the situation goes awry, we must make Japan pay more of a price than China.
The Diaoyu Islands dispute will test the Chinese government’s leadership for a long time. But we should have confidence: our rival is a bully which can even bear US military occupation. As long as we keep tough, we will not lose this test of wills.
Xinhua News Agency
January 8, 2013
Commentary: Worrying right turn of Japanese politics
BEIJING: Despite repeated warnings that Japanese politics is sliding further to the right, it seems that the newly-installed Shinzo Abe administration has no interest in accommodating such concerns.
At the very beginning of 2013, reports came that Tokyo might seek to revise two official statements issued in the 1990s meant as apologies to victims of Japan’s wartime atrocities.
The Kono Statement, which acknowledged the Japanese Imperial Army’s role in forcing thousands of captured women into sex slavery, and the Murayama Danwa, a broader apology issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama over war atrocities, have long been considered rare examples of Tokyo’s self reflection.
On the heels of the worrying turn of events, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, in a high-profile trip to Myanmar, paid tribute to Japan’s fallen soldiers buried there during WWII, in total disregard of the feelings of people that had suffered bitterly under the Japanese aggression.
Yet the most substantial effort of Tokyo toward the right is to try to upgrade its Self Defense Force into a full military force, starting with planned increase in defense budget in fiscal 2013, the first time in 11 years.
The prospect of reviving militarism in Japan evokes bitter memories among Asian countries which had endured brutal Japanese aggression and could eventually inflict a heavy toll on Japan’s diplomacy.
Many observers have predicted the political orientation of the Abe administration upon the release of the list of cabinet ministers, most of whom were widely seen as “radical nationalists.”
Japanese politicians have to bear in mind that any attempt to whitewash aggression would backfire and any endeavor by Tokyo to alter the post-war world order would land the country in massive trouble.
To become a future-oriented “normal country,” Japan should put the brakes on right-leaning politics.
January 10, 2013
Steps in wrong direction
Although the cornerstone of Japan’s foreign policy is its alliance with the United States, the newly formed cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking to “encircle” China by consolidating ties with neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida began a visit to the Philippines on Wednesday, part of a tour that will also take him to Singapore, Brunei and Australia. The trip is aimed at strengthening Japan’s ties with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
In mid-January Abe will visit Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, his first foreign destinations, after “scheduling difficulties” put the brakes on his proposed trip to the US. The three countries are the largest receivers of Japan’s official development assistance in Southeast Asia.
At the start of January, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso visited Myanmar, with Japan hoping to stop China gaining the upper hand in promoting economic development projects in the country in the years ahead.
Clearly one of Abe’s central strategies is to boost Japan’s leverage with China by strengthening security and energy cooperation with countries in Southeast Asia. He also believes strengthening ties with Russia and other Asian nations, based on the strength of the Japan-US alliance, will help rebuild Japan’s relations with China.
On Dec 28, two days after the inauguration of his cabinet, Abe consulted with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other world leaders over the phone. One of his advisers disclosed that these telephone conversations were intended to “tighten the noose” around China.
It is not difficult to see that Abe is seeking to renew the “arc of freedom and prosperity” around China that he mapped out during his first term as prime minister from 2006 to 2007.
But the attempts by Abe and his cabinet to encircle China will only intensify the friction between China and Japan, and make the possibility of the two countries’ mending their frayed relations even more remote.
After his Liberal Democratic Party’s win in the lower house election on Dec 16, Abe said the bilateral relationship is extremely important and he would like to make efforts to return it to the “initial point of mutually beneficial strategic relations”.
It’s time he made the effort to take some steps in that direction.