Last night I read the news on a Tokyo area radio station that is also broadcast nationally by Internet radio. The first seven of the top stories all had to do with the new Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and the economy, South East Asia, and the Senkaku Islands.
Sea of China
I was hoping that the rhetoric between Japan and China was being toned down. But it seems it's not.
Look at this news from across the ocean that just came out. The China Daily reports:
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that Chinese military planes were on"routine flights" in relevant airspace over the East China Sea. Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a press briefing in response to media reports that Japan sent fighter jets to head off a number of Chinese military planes spotted in Japan's "air defense identification zone" over the East China Sea on Thursday.
"China firmly opposes Japan's moves to gratuitously escalate the situation and create tensions," Hong said.
The area north of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyus in China, is reportedly home to billions in oil and gas deposits claimed both by Japan and China.
This report comes as the government of Shintaro Abe has approved a tit-for-tat firing of "tracer bullets" as warning shots at Chinese fighter planes.
China's state-run Global Times calls this, "a step closer to war," warning a military clash is "more likely" while its people need to prepare "for the worst."
Business Insider also reports:
The Chinese jets could be flying from air base Shuimen, built east of the islands in Fujian Province. Satellite imagery of the base first came to light in 2009, but experts believe it reached completion late last year.
The Taipei Times reported in May 2012 that satellite images showed J-10 combat aircraft, Su-30 fighters, and various unmanned drones arriving at the base.
In addition to aircraft experts believe Russian made S-300 long-range surface-to-air missiles ring the airbase, providing some of the best missile protection in the world. The S-300 is comparable to the U.S. made Patriot missile recently sent to Turkey for its first line of missile defense against Syria.
The Shuimen airbase compliment's China's East Fleet that maintains 35 ships in the region, including its newest warship the Type 054, seven submarines, and eight additional landing craft.
Among the subs are four Kilo-class diesel-electric Russian made submarines capable of the most advanced underwater warfare.
All of this located just 236 miles from the contested islands, which have been in dispute between Japan and China for some time.
Yes. I think we need to prepare for the worst. This is really getting out of hand. While the USA squeezes China and Russia on the other side, it seems that Japan and China are being maneuvered into trouble on this side. History is replete with lessons on how military build up and escalation turn out.