Monday, October 28, 2013

All For One?

If China decides to strike Japan to settle the Senkaku dispute by force, it would be a good idea for South China Sea claimants to jump on their claims rather than wait their turn to be targeted.

China is continuing to press Japan over the Senkakus:

China on Monday kept up the pressure on Japan over the disputed Senkaku islands, sending its coastguard to the area following Beijing's weekend mention of "war" after Tokyo reportedly readied to down its drones.

Four Chinese coastguard vessels sailed into the territorial waters of the islands -- which Beijing calls the Diaoyus -- on Monday morning, the Japanese coastguard said, where they remained for about two hours.

China insists that it might find war with Japan justified over the loss of the drones of a single Pomeranian grenadier newly unified Chinese Coast Guard:

The manoeuvre came days after China, in one of its strongest statements so far in an increasingly acrimonious spat over the islands, said if Japan fired on its unmanned aircraft it "would constitute a serious provocation, an act of war of sorts".

Japan seems in no mood to follow China's script that requires Japan to just sit and wait for Chinese encroachment to slowly swallow up the Senkaku Islands.

Abe, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, said Japan should take the lead in guarding against what he said might be an attempt by China to use force to attain its diplomatic goals.

He said he had realized at recent meetings with South East Asian leaders that the region sought leadership from Tokyo in terms of security amid China's more forthright diplomacy.

"There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won't be able to emerge peacefully," he told the newspaper.

The article also notes that Japan may have approved use of force to shoot down drones over their territory. China may think that sending coast guard drones doesn't count as starting a militarized conflict, but Japan has seen this scenario play out before in the region and it always ends with a Chinese "death star" sitting on stilts over some small rocky islet.

I think Japan would win an air-naval battle over the Senkakus. Even without our direct intervention.

And if Japan has a scrape with China over those islands, that really should be the signal to every other state in the region with territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea to rapidly occupy anything they claim while the Chinese are busy with Japan.

I mean, if the Japanese are serious that other nations are committed to making sure China can't take that path and get away with it, they'd be prepared to do that.