Zhang Zhaozhong accuses U.S. of using drills with Japan as practice for invasion
A People’s Liberation Army Admiral has fanned the flames of tensions surrounding the island dispute between China and Japan by suggesting that China would comfortably defeat Japan in a war and that Beijing should prepare for the United States to become involved in the conflict.
A report in People’s Daily – a propaganda organ for the ruling Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – quotes Zhang Zhaozhong, rear admiral at China’s National Defense University.
Zhaozhong accuses the United States and Japan of using a joint drill currently taking place on Tinian Island involving U.S. Marines and Japanese troops to prepare for a potential invasion of the disputed islands, adding that the U.S. is taking part in the exercises as a deterrent to put pressure on China.
The article quotes Zhaozhong as highlighting that, “China has a stronger fighting capability than Japan in a war for the Diaoyu Islands, because China’s coastal areas are close to the islands and the radar and missiles there can cover all the islands.”
However, the Admiral makes it clear that if the United States were to become embroiled in the conflict, the balance would change greatly and that China should be making preparations for that very outcome.
“The intervention of the U.S. military will change the military strength contrast between China and Japan, so China should prepare for it,” said Zhaozhong.
Zhaozhong’s rhetoric follows a threat by China to economically attack the Japanese bond market to precipitate a funding crisis as well as China’s most powerful military leader ordering forces to prepare for combat. Last weekend, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the two countries could be heading towards war.
Riots have raged in China over the last two weeks, with demonstrators attacking Japanese restaurants, Japanese-made cars, and Chinese hackers targeting Japanese government websites in protest over a small chain of disputed islands called “Senkaku” by Japan and “Diaoyu” by China.
Given the Chinese government’s policy of routinely cracking down on demonstrations of any kind, charges that the riots were organized by the ruling Communist Party itself as a geopolitical stage show have gained traction.
Famous Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei joined the chorus of those accusing China of provocateuring the protests today when he told AFP, “I was quite surprised because we all can see the whole demonstration (against Japan) being prepared by officials.”
“They tried to picture it as being self-organized, but there were so many details that were obviously very carefully prepared,” he added, noting that the last “real” mass protests in China – the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations – were brutally crushed by Beijing.
Admiral Zhaozhong’s aggressive posturing over China’s ability to easily defeat Japan in a one on one conflict is not without foundation.
China has almost 2.3 million active duty military personnel – the biggest army in the world – whereas Japan has just 230,000 active duty soldiers. The United States has 1,458,219 active troops and a similar number of reserves.
Although the U.S. has been reticent to wade into the island dispute, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee yesterday that the islands fall under an American defense pact with Japan.
Zhaozhong has not been shy about making similarly volatile statements in the past.
In November last year the Admiral said China would not hesitate to protect Iran even at the risk of starting a third world war.
Earlier this year, Zhaozhong reacted to the announcement that the United States had developed a new high-tech stealth destroyer warship by saying China could use fishing boats laden with explosives to carry out suicide attacks against the U.S. Navy.
“It would be a goner,” Zhaozhong told state broadcaster CCTV’s military channel.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.