A clash seemed unavoidable when twelve Chinese surveillance and fishing administration ships and seven Japanese patrol ships were in the waters within and around the areas over which China and Japan each claims its sovereignty.
That was a situation much more serious than the nationwide anti-Japan mass protests in China yesterday, in which there was no repetition of previous vandalism and violence.
According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao and Singtao Daily, China’s Xinhua, China News Service and CNA, and Japan’s Kyodo News, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, NHK, and Yomiuri Shimbun, many Chinese official vessels, fishing boats and sea surveillance aircraft confronted 7 large Japanese patrol vessels and 3 Japanese aircraft in the disputed sea areas.
Each side told the other to leave but neither side obeyed. However, we seem to have no reasons to worry as Japan seems to have no intention to drive Chinese vessels away, but only wants to prevent Chinese people from landing on the disputed islands.
China only wants to claim its sovereignty through patrolling and fishing in the areas, but has no intention to land on the disputed islets.
That is quite natural. The islets are worthless, but the areas around it are worth a lot, as there are rich energy and fish resources there.
So far, China has succeeded in exploiting the fish resources there as Chinese fishermen from Huian, Fujian claimed on the internet that they had returned home with full loads of fish they caught.
If China stops there and Japan continues to act with restraint, we should not worry that the confrontation will lead to war. However, what if China begins to exploit the energy resources there?
I hope China will not risk war to do that until the disputes over sovereignty have been resolved peacefully. However, it is not up to me to decide.
Reuters reports that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said to Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie, ‘With respect to these current tensions, we are urging calm and restraint by all sides and encourage them to maintain open channels of communication in order to resolve these disputes diplomatically and peacefully’.
But Liang responded by saying that China hoped for a peaceful settlement of the dispute but “reserves rights for further actions”.
We are all clear that by further actions the general meant military actions.
The danger of war has not been removed!
However, the US does not seem to have an intention to be militarily involved because according to Reuters, “Panetta said in remarks to a meeting of the two defence staff: ‘Our goal is to have the United States and China establish the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and the key to that is to establish a strong military-to-military relationship'”.
By ‘strong military-to-military relationship,’ Panetta undoubtedly did not mean war between the two countries.
Moreover, Reuters says, “Panetta said that in order to further build ties, the United States had invited a Chinese warship to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercises, a U.S.-sponsored large-scale naval exercise involving more than 20 countries.”
Obviously, Panetta showed US intention for warming-up of US-China relations.
That is also proved by SCMP’s report on US and PLA warships teaming up in Sino-US joint anti-piracy exercises in the Gulf of Aden on Monday.
It seems that the United States really has no intention to fight a war with China. If so, even if a naval clash does break out between China and Japan, it will possibly be a limited clash without US involvement. We hope that will be the case.
- U.S. Defence Secretary in talks with Chinese leader-in-waiting (metronews.ca)
- Chinese General: Prepare for Combat (freebeacon.com)
- Will clash begin by boldness on both Chinese and Japanese sides? (chinadailymail.com)