Japan can be regarded as China’s long-term enemy in quite a few Chinese people’s mindset, though since the 1970s, Sino-Japanese relations have been quite satisfactory until now. Tension between the two countries has intensified in their disputes over the Diaoyu Islands (called Senkaku Islands by Japan).
China suffered a humiliating naval defeat by Japan in 1894 and the defeat on land later forced China to lose Taiwan to Japan and pay heavy war compensation.
A naval war between China and Japan in 2014, the 120th anniversary of China’s naval defeat, for revenge is now quite a hot topic among Chinese people. However, I believe Chinese military strategists always follow Sun Tzu’s teaching, and will not conduct a naval war with Japan. China does not have overwhelming naval superiority over Japan, and China will surely be defeated if the US is involved.
However, naval war in the South China Sea is quite possible.
In my post “Large military hospital for South China Sea actions,” I said, “A large military hospital newly built on Hainan Island indicates that China’s hard-line attitude in South China Sea is not merely bluffing.”
Today’s SCMP news “Sea dive risks stoking tensions” says, “China’s decision to send the Jiaolong manned submarine to explore a basin close to the Philippines may signal a new step in its approach to bolstering regional territorial claims, experts say.”
In addition, according to SCMP, Zhou Huaiyang, a professor with the State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology at Tongji University in Shanghai, “said researchers felt the only role Jiaolong could play was to obtain rock and liquid samples, which could shed light on the geophysical and chemical nature of the basin surface.
“But even that information was far removed from the civilian project’s primary objective, which was to understand how the basin was formed.
“Solving the mystery could help geologists pinpoint mineral belts as well as oil or natural gas reserves.”
Since Jiaolong could not make much contribution to the geological survey, its survey obviously aims at testing Philippine bottom line.
Negotiations between China and the Philippines are still being conducted without conclusion. We do not know whether there will be a repeat of stand-off at Scarborough Shoal. It seems China has made up its mind to risk a naval war in the South China Sea, but I still hope that China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries will strive to find a peaceful solution to their disputes.
- China warns ASEAN not to talk about South China Sea disputes (chinadailymail.com)
- Chinese sub to dive in South China Sea: media (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- China, Japan, Taiwan and the East China Sea (thediplomat.com)
Categories: Politics & Law