“The game of chicken between two great superpowers is about to begin”
Japanese media outlets have been feverishly dreaming up scenarios of war with China as soon as next year in response to Beijing’s imposition of an air defense zone over the disputed Senkaku Islands.
As the Japan Times notes, “Five out of nine weekly magazines that went on sale last Monday and Tuesday contained scenarios that raised the possibility of a shooting war.”
The Sunday Mainichi ran an article entitled Sino-Japanese war to break out in January, which speculated that a worsening Chinese economy and a real estate crash may provoke Beijing to stage an incident “accidentally on purpose,” which could take the form of a civilian airliner being forced to land and the passengers held hostage.
Another scenario revolves around China targeting oil supertankers bound for Japan. “If China were to target them, nothing could be worse to contemplate,” wrote author author Osamu Eya.
Shukan Gendai, a weekly magazine sold by the largest publishing house in Japan, even speculated that Chinese President Xi Jinping could order the shoot down of a Japanese civilian airliner, prompting a response from the United States that could lead to a fighter jet battle.
“Unlike Japan, the U.S. military would immediately respond to a radar lock-on threat by shooting down the Chinese planes,” asserts military analyst Mitsuhiro Sera. “It would naturally regard an aircraft flying overhead as hostile. They would shoot at it even if that were to risk discrediting the Obama administration.”
According to Saburo Takai, writing for Flash, China is intent on reclaiming the Senkaku Islands, by force if necessary, but still fears a military confrontation with the United States, a concern emphasized by Beijing’s failure to respond to America’s provocative B-52 bomber incursion of the “air defense zone” last month.
“The game of chicken between two great superpowers is about to begin,” concludes the Japan Times.
As we have also highlighted, Beijing’s cheerleading for its military advances has become noticeably more bellicose in recent weeks, with state media outlets bragging of how China plans to turn the moon into a “Death Star” from which missiles could be launched towards any target on Earth.
The official news website of the People’s Liberation Army also recently touted the prowess of China’s newly formed aircraft carrier combat task force, boasting that it is close to rivaling the U.S. Navy.
In October, Chinese state-run media also released a map showing the locations of major U.S. cities and how they would be impacted by a nuclear attack launched from the PLA’s strategic submarine force.
Although a shooting war between China and Japan remains unlikely, respected observers like Ambrose Evans-Pritchard have warned that the escalating crisis represents a “watershed moment for the world” and means “Asia is on the cusp of a full-blown arms race.”
A full blown arms race between two major superpowers who are on the verge of conflict over a fiercely fought territorial dispute. That’s somewhat more weighty than the assassination of a relatively obscure Austrian Archduke….and we all know what that led to.