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More good news from the Senkaku front

With tensions brewing over the Senkaku Islands, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official paper of China’s PLA, is telling the military to prepare for war:

“In 2013, the goal set for the entire army and the People’s Armed Police force is to bolster their capabilities to fight and their ability to win a war … to be well-prepared for a war by subjecting the army to hard and rigorous training on an actual combat basis,” according to yesterday’s People’s Liberation Army Daily, which referred to a training blueprint issued by the PLA’s Department of the General Staff for the entire force.

The directive came in stark contrast to that of its predecessor. In last year’s directive, more emphasis was placed on joint military trainings and co-ordination among different PLA services.

This year’s statement stresses the urgency of real combat abilities in all military training by repeating the phrase “fighting wars”, or dazhang, as many as 10 times in the article, which was no more than 1,000 words. The phrase did not appear in last year’s directive.

Further boosting rosy predictions for the region, Japan is considering basing F-15s close to the islands:

The Defense Ministry is thinking of stationing F-15 fighter jets at a remote airport halfway from Naha to Taiwan to speed up its response to airspace incursions by China near the disputed Senkaku Islands, government sources said Monday.

The planes would be stationed on Shimojijima Island, which is much closer to the Japan-administered Senkakus, which China claims as the Diaoyu, than to Okinawa’s prefectural capital Naha, where the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-15s are based.

Things are getting interesting, with Japan recently scrambling F-15s to tail a Chinese Y-8 patrol plane near the islands, and China scrambling J-10s in response. This move may have been more dangerous than it initially sounds:

The Diplomat calls the Y-8 a transport plane, and it can be, but the aircraft has more than 30 variants. The Y-8 performs everything from Mineral Research, to Geophysical Surveying, to Electronic Warfare to Intelligence Gathering and one variant is simply an innocuous but lethal fully loaded gunship, with two heavy cannons and three heavy machine guns.

It’s the perfect plane for a game of cat and mouse because if the Y-8 ever received fire from Japan’s F-15s, China could simply maintain it was an unarmed transport model carrying troops, or the Y8-F model that carries only livestock.

In the meantime, the plane can perform all manner of sophisticated tests on the seabed floor, while eavesdropping on Japanese communications. China has been flying these planes consistently lately to surveil the contested island chain that’s supposed to hold billions in oil and gas reserves.

Japan is also considering allowing its jets to fire tracer rounds at Chinese planes. And Tokyo is conducting drills to practice retaking a small, remote island.

In The Atlantic, Matt Schiavenza writes:

Just because relations have worsened, of course, does not mean war is imminent: both China and Japan have strong incentives to avoid escalating their bilateral crisis. Nevertheless, the trend in both countries is clear: a robust defense of the islands is good politics and politics, for better or for worse, drives bilateral relations more than either side likes to admit. Whether a rocky outpost in the middle of the East China Sea becomes a mere historical footnote or the start of something more serious will depend on how the two leaders strike a balance between national interest and the wishes of their people.

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  • H.Schmidt

    If China can’t take the Diaoyu Islands that would be a huge embarrassment for China. 

  • ChuckRamone

    I really wish the Allied Powers had done a little more housecleaning during the Occupation, not that I’m not grateful for South Korea’s situation.

  • hoju_saram

    Don’t bend, Japan.

  • wangkon936

    How do I like this 1000 times?

  • keyinjpop

    Please USA, let’s not get too involved in this shit.

  • Wedge1

    What housecleaning?

  • Wedge1

    The Chicoms are doing a great job of rekindling the long-dormant martial spirit of the Japanese. Keep up the good work, clowns.

  • Hardyandtiny

    Let’s hope China does not attempt to take those islands.

  • yankdownunder

     http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/us-china-hawks-idUSBRE90G00C20130117

    Special Report: China’s military hawks take the offensive

    “Since we have decided that the U.S. is bluffing in the East China Sea, we should take this opportunity to respond to these empty provocations with something real,” he wrote in an August 28 commentary published in the Chinese-language edition of the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid published by the Communist Party organ, the People’s Daily.

    “This includes Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, who are the three running dogs of the United States in Asia,” added Dai, a researcher at Beijing University’s China Centre for Strategic Studies. “We only need to kill one, and it will immediately bring the others to heel.”

    “The chance of conflict in the South China Sea and East China sea this year is arguably high … ”

    It isn’t a question of if there will be a conflict. There already is a conflict.  Started by China to seize land from other countries. The only question is when the first and last shot will be fired.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    I’m sure the Vietnamese appreciate that China has reduced them to “running dogs of Yankee imperialism” status.

  • RolyPoly

    Even one year ago, when I wrote the China-Japan War is coming, people were laughing at me.  They asked why would these two “civilized” countries go to war and kill each other.   They are not civilized.  They are stuck at 19th century nationalism and willing to kill each other – including women and children – off.  In most brutal way.  Savages.   China feels it has to measure its di** size and Japan feels it has to show that it owns Asia.   Like WWII times.   These losers have to see some blood and dead bodies – even then they may  not stop.  They are crazy people.   And, Korean dummies are going to join in too.  WWIII is an Asian war.

  • ChuckRamone

    Kicking out all the conservatives in Japan, defining maritime territories clearly – hell, even taking the Korean War all the way to the point where no eventual reunification was necessary. But I know that’s all fanciful thinking. And, like I said, I’m grateful for what they did accomplish.

  • Buffalo Bill

    Just keep the islands Japan, US will help you anyway. The US can’t back off & won’t back off. They’d fight anywhere, provided you agree to foot the bills. Worst case is that you would have to buy more weapons from the US. Yes of course, there’s no free lunch. Japan, you know better than that don’t you?!! You know nothing comes free – especially from the US. The defense treaty is a “menu” only, each item that you order comes at a price. Ha…ha…stupid idiot!!!!! Of course the US wants you to fight, it creates more jobs & more revenue to the US!!! Ha..ha…ha…ha..