【新唐人2013年1月27日訊】【世事關心】(245)釣魚島:日本打不起 中共更打不起:剖析釣魚島衝突演變成戰事的可能性。(English Script Included Below)

Topic: War over The Diaoyu Islands? Who Would have More to Lose?

蕭茗:進入一月份以來,釣魚島爭端又重新進入大家的視線。但是這一次和去年9月的那一次有所不同,在中日兩國都新近更換了領導人之後,雙方無論在釣魚島問題或者是國防政策方面都顯示出了較前任更強硬的姿態,並且付諸了一定的行動。釣魚島爭端看起來馬上面臨著擦強走火的危險。而且更為嚴重的是,到現在為止,外界還看不到釣魚島爭端解決的出路。那麽,這一次,釣魚島是不是真的要出事了?如果出事,沖突級別會是擦槍走火還是局部戰爭,上升為全面戰爭的可能性有沒有?誰又會最終為這場沖突付出最沈重的代價?這集的世事關心,我們就來和美國智庫的專家和中國問題專家一起來探討這些問題。首先我們來回顧一下圍繞釣魚島的這一輪沖突的主要事件。

旁白:2012年12月中旬,兩件事情的巧合也許埋下了這一輪釣魚島沖突的種子。12月13日,一架中國海監飛機抵達釣魚島領空,與正在釣魚島領海內巡航的4艘中國海監船編隊會合,對釣魚島開展海空立體巡航並對日方進行了喊話,要求日方船只立即離開中國領海。自從日本政府對釣魚島國有化之後,中國海監編隊已經在釣魚島海域開展了5個月的巡航,12月13日是第一次派遣飛機進行海空立體化的巡航。 3天以後,日本大選結果出爐,自民黨和公明黨獲勝,自民黨總裁安倍晉三再度出任首相。自民黨是日本保守黨派,對華政策較為強硬。

1月5日,履新的安倍晉三政府計劃在11年來首次增加國防預算,將新一年度的軍費提高2%,達到4萬7千億日元,約525億美元。日媒分析說,增加軍費的主要目的一方面是應對中國軍力擴張,另外也是配合新任首相安倍晉三計劃修改憲法,行使集體自衛權,在釣魚島(日本稱尖閣諸島)的爭端中與中國抗衡。

在此期間,中國海檢船持續在釣魚島海域長時間巡航,日本也增加了對釣魚島海域的監控,雙方外交部門也互相喊話指責。

1月10號,日本防衛省稱,中國軍機出現在東海上空日本“防空識別區”內,導致日本自衛隊緊急派出F-15戰機升空應對。中國國防部則表示,中國軍隊一架運8飛機在東海油氣田西南空域進行例行巡邏時遭到日本航空自衛隊F-15戰機的跟蹤,中方隨後出動2架殲10飛機進行監視。

這是中日兩國軍機首次因為釣魚島爭端發生對峙。中國官方媒體《環球時報》11號發出警告說,中國和日本之間有爆發軍事沖突的可能。

於此同時,日本“產經新聞”引述引日本政府高級官員的話稱,日本首相安倍晉三要求有關部門強化釣魚島周邊領域的警備措施,其中包括“當領空侵犯機不服從無線電警告時,允許自衛隊戰機采用曳光彈進行警告射擊”。

然而美國政府隨後向安倍政府發出警告,要求日本自衛隊不得向飛臨釣魚島附近空域的中國飛機發射曳光彈或信號彈。美國擔心,如果日本自衛隊率先向中國飛機射擊,會引起中國的反擊,中日兩國很可能發生武裝沖突。

雖然日本很可能暫時打消了發射曳光彈的打算,但是安倍晉三對釣魚島的立場卻沒有軟化。1月11日,安倍晉三表示,在尖閣諸島問題上不會讓步,沒有談判的余地。對此,中國外交部發言人洪磊也表示,釣魚島及其附屬島嶼自古以來就是中國的固有領土,當前中日關系陷入嚴重困難是日方一手造成的。

就在中日釣魚島爭端步步升級的時候,臺灣也加入了進來。臺灣總統馬英九1月15日接見到訪的美國聯邦參議員穆考斯基一行時重申,臺灣政府一貫主張,釣魚臺列嶼是中華民國固有領土、是臺灣的附屬島嶼。至此,釣魚島爭端變得更加復雜.

1月16日-18日,日本首相安倍晉三出訪東南亞三天,除了擴展貿易市場之外,此行的主要目的被外界視為是安倍在中日關系緊張之際,推動區域外交,聯合東南亞國家抗衡中國。

1月19日,美國國務卿克林頓的一番話再度激起波瀾。克林頓呼籲日本和中國和平解決他們的領土爭端。不過,她也間接地警告中國不要采取任何單邊行動,破壞日本對有關島嶼的控制。

這一番話其實是重申了美國一貫的立場。二○一二年十一月二十九日,美國參議院全體會議決定:在二○一三財政年度的《國防授權法案》中加入補充條款,明確規定釣魚島是《日美安保條約》第五條的適用對象。該條款指出:「美國對尖閣群島最終的主權歸屬不持特定立場,但認為其處於日本的管轄之下」,而《日美安保條約》第七條稱:美日任何一方在日本的管轄區內受到武裝攻擊,根據《日美安保條約》,日本或美國可以作出反應或反擊。

1月21日,中國表示對美國國務卿克林頓有關有爭議島嶼的評論強烈不滿。並警告美國要謹言慎行。

1月22日,日本方面終於出現了似乎是示好的態度。在一個電視節目中,安倍晉三說,“我們不能因為一個問題而讓兩國的全部交流關系停止下來。”他說,這不符合兩國的戰略互惠關系原則,這是安倍上臺之後第一次在公開場合談論自己對日中關系的看法。安倍還表示,他讓公明黨主席山口那津男訪問中國時帶去一封親筆信給中國領導人習近平,希望幫助促成雙方展開對話。

1月25日,山口那津男與習近平會晤並轉交了安倍的信件。安倍在信中表示,願意從大局出發,推動日中戰略互惠關系向前發展,期望盡快和習近平舉行首腦會談。而習近平的回應是將“認真研究”高層峰會的提議,此說法被外界解讀為既沒有拒絕,也沒有承諾。雙方能否舉行峰會,取決於兩國能不能在釣魚島主權爭議問題上找到共同利益。

安倍晉三雖然似乎伸出了橄欖枝,但是與此同時,自民黨官員和安倍在日本國內又重申了對釣魚島擁有不可質疑的主權的強硬態度。

蕭茗: 到目前為止,中日雙方還沒有任何一方在釣魚島問題上表現出實質性的讓步。有一種說法,引發戰爭和導致戰爭的不總是同樣的事情。引發戰爭的往往就是針對小事件的對峙不斷的升級,最終導致擦槍走火。而我們看到中日針對釣魚島的爭端就是處於這樣一個狀態。那麽,中日是否會擦槍走火,甚至導致局部戰爭,中日海軍的實力對比如何,美國將扮演什麽角色。針對這些問題我采訪了美國國際評估與戰略中心,研究亞洲軍事的高級研究員Richard Fisher先生,一起來聽一下。

蕭茗:如果1是最低,10是最高,您會用從1到10的哪個數字來描述中國和日本因釣魚島爭端而發起戰爭的可能性?

費舍爾:我會說(雙方發生)沖突的可能性是很大的。4、5或者6。而沖突演變成戰爭的可能性則沒有那麽高。但是,做出這樣的預測又總是有風險的。中國(中共)的野心相當無所顧忌又心計很深。如果它可以發起並控制一場沖突,而且可以用其操縱及削弱日本的戰略地位和美國的戰略地位,它很可能會這麽做。但是,今天發生沖突的可能性絕對遠遠大於一年之前。

蕭茗:無論中國和日本是否開戰,中國人民真正感興趣的有這幾件事情。例如,中國實際上能夠同日本在海上開戰嗎?換句話說,日本可以單槍匹馬的抵擋中國嗎?

費舍爾:日本可以在一段時間內抵擋中國。能阻止多久,就很難說了。但我不認為日本將獨自進行任何形式的軍事行動。美國很可能會從一開始就與日本並肩作戰。如果並非如此,(美國會向日本)提供情報服務,其中包括雷達通信、監控及情報共享等,而不是實戰支援。

蕭茗:哪一方擁有更強海軍?中國還是日本?

費舍爾:各國都有不同優勢。中國剛剛將其首艘航空母艦編入軍隊現役。該航母在一兩年後將全面投入運作。在許多情況下,一旦它開始運作,將(向中國海軍)提供超過日本海軍的決定性優勢。日本則有遠勝於中國的潛艇。這些潛艇可以擊沈中國航母和其他大多數中國軍艦。但同樣的,中國有更多潛艇。因此,雙方都有相對優勢。

蕭茗:我們剛才談到了不同類型的軍事對抗。人們想知道的一件事情是,如果發生軍事對抗,它可能只限於海上,或者這有可能會升級成大規模戰爭?

費舍爾:軍事對抗可以向不同且不可預見的方向升級。中國是否會發起全面戰爭,包括對沖繩島的大範圍入侵、導彈攻擊和網絡攻擊日本本土嗎?這些是非常不太可能的。但中國會不會為支援其空中作戰區域而投入海軍力量?肯定會有這個可能性。中國會嘗試派遣兩棲及特種部隊占領有爭議的島嶼嗎?肯定會有這個可能性。日本會隨後嘗試驅逐或俘虜占領釣魚島的中國士兵嗎?肯定也會有這個可能性。一旦雙方大範圍交火,將有擴大並升級沖突的誘惑出現。而且因為美國有可能在早期就參與到這樣的沖突中來,中國將視美國為同日本一樣的目標。

蕭茗:那麽另一個問題就是,如果中國和日本之間發生某種形式的軍事交鋒,甚至開始戰爭,美國將在何種程度上介入此事?

費舍爾:這很難說。但至少,如果中國發動攻擊,我認為美國空軍,例如上周部署到沖繩島的F-22猛禽戰鬥機,可能會被用來作為一種確保空中優勢的手段。這些都是極具戰鬥力的戰機,世界上最好的。然而,美國只在沖繩島部署了小數目的此類戰鬥機,大概不到20架。因此,如果中國啟用上百架戰機參與空戰,這些猛禽戰鬥機將如何有效,還有待觀察。但只要它們能收到支援,而且只要它們配備具備戰鬥力的導彈武器裝置,我不認為在釣魚島上空F-22戰鬥機會被打敗。但這裏有一個可能性。中國有采用所謂“殺手鐧”的秘密和超強武器的悠久傳統。解放軍的葫蘆裏賣的什麽藥,我們無法預料。這是中共著重進行的軍事現代化一個方面中的關鍵因素,來加強其阻止美國的能力。

蕭茗:無論現在釣魚島的情況如何劍拔弩張,事實上,如果中日雙方真的發生軍事沖突,甚至爆發局部戰爭,美國也被迫卷入的話,幾乎可以斷定,這是對3方都沒有好處的事情.但是,即便如此, 中日雙方現在看起來都很難軟化各自強硬的立場. 如果這樣下去, 這場危機是否有解決的辦法, 誰將會對這場沖突最終付出最沈重的代價。下面是我針對這些問題,對Richard Fisher先生的另一段采訪.

蕭茗:雙方的難題似乎是,雖然戰爭不符合任何一方的真正利益,由於兩國國內政治壓力,沒人敢在此沖突中顯得軟弱。您認為雙方有什麽解決途徑?

費舍爾:我不接受認為如果中國共產黨在其一手造成的危機中退步,它(的統治)即會受到威脅的主張。在中國,民族主義的威脅或民族主義現象大多是由共產黨控制的。中共隨心所欲的讓民族主義發展壯大或減小聲勢。如果中國做出讓步,允許事情返回現狀,你將不會在第二天就在北京看到一場革命。這是不可能發生的。但是,如果因釣魚島主權問題兩國發生沖突,並且日本被打敗,我認為你可能在日本看到的不僅是一個非常強烈的政治反應,一個民族主義反應,還是一個強大到足以迫使政府下臺的反映。而且下界政府將更具有民族主義和軍國主義傾向。中國真正冒著一個推動日本走向重整軍備道路的風險。(日本可能會裝備)航空母艦、導彈、甚至核武器。中國現任領導們由於愚蠢的參與到沖突中來,他們威脅著中國人民的安全。他們無法控制這一沖突,而且肯定無法控制其長期結果。

蕭茗:如果戰爭爆發,哪一方將承受更多損失,日本還是中國?
費舍爾:在短期內,日本將損失更多。但我相信,從長遠來看,更大輸家則是中國。因為如果中國因這些島嶼而引發同日本的沖突,這將迫使日本采用更有侵略性的長期軍事態勢。這還將迫使中國周邊國家進行更加嚴密的軍事合作。這還將加強美國的戰略和政治領導地位。因此,從長遠來看,中國肯定是輸家。

蕭茗: 與本次釣魚島爭端同時發生的還有一件大事,就是中共軍方在此期間釋放出全軍積極備戰的信號. 這毫無疑問使得釣魚島本來就緊繃的局勢更加雪上加霜. 也使人們看到,在釣魚島爭端中,中共可能同樣不打算示弱. 關於中共軍方最近一段時間的動向,我們請雪莉來介紹一下.

雪莉: 好的蕭茗. 新年伊始,中國《解放軍報》就報道,中國人民解放軍總參謀部頒發了《2013年全軍軍事訓練指示》,要求全軍和武警部隊緊緊圍繞能打仗、打勝仗的目標,以軍事鬥爭準備任務為牽引,大力加強實戰化軍事訓練;要強化打仗思想、增強憂患意識、危機意識、使命意識,做好打仗準備,提高打仗能力。

香港《爭鳴》雜誌近期披露,去年12月16日晚,中共中央政治局審議通過了〝中央軍事委員會關於堅決維護國家固有領土釣魚島主權,作好堅實軍事鬥爭部署〞的決議,該〝決議〞定下了對日開戰的五個前提。

文章還披露說,2012年12月14日晚,中共中央軍委委員,總參謀長房峰輝代表四總部,海軍司令員吳勝利代表各軍兵種。北京軍區司令員張仕波和南京軍區政委鄭衛平代表七大軍區、陸軍集團軍、省軍區、趁中央政治局常委會召開會議之際,向黨中央表決心,呈交維護國家主權、捍衛國家疆土的請戰決心書。

此外,中央軍委副主席範長龍在視察北京軍區等部隊時也聲稱〝一場高科技高代價局部戰爭離我軍越來越近〞,提醒軍隊做好準備〝單打、雙打”。雙打是指美國加入的情況。

另外,習近平在近期中共中央軍委會議上,在視察各軍兵種部隊時,都承諾要保障提升全軍待遇。

12月初通過的有關提高對軍事、國防科技等方面的嘉獎條例包括:三軍在軍事演習、實戰演習、軍事武器裝備研制創新等的嘉獎提高十至五十倍。
特等獎達到個人最高二千萬元,集體(組、團)最高二億元。對於擊落入侵軍事飛行器,擊沈入侵水面艦艇的獎勵,最高達到了集體獎勵金五億元。蕭茗.

蕭茗: 謝謝雪莉。中共軍方近期積極備戰的姿態和重獎作戰部隊的舉措都給人一種直觀的印象, 好像中共是真的打算近期在和鄰國的領土爭端中動武. 那麽事實到底如何呢? 釣魚島爭端和中國國內政治的關系是什麽? 中共是否會主動打這一仗.就這些問題我采訪了本臺資深評論員橫河.

蕭茗:我之前在和西方專家討論中共是否會在釣魚島爭端中退一步這個問題的時候,他提出一個觀點,就是中共政權在釣魚島問題上退一步,對他們來說並不是什麽難事,因為國內的民族主義情緒本來就是被中共操縱的,中共不會因為在釣魚島事件上退了一步,中國就會發生革命。所以首先我想問一下,你對這個觀點怎麽看?你認為,中共在處理釣魚島問題上如果確實存在困難的話,這種難度到底是來自於哪裏?

橫河:中共在釣魚島上存在的難度來自於它自己。釣魚島的問題原來即使在十八大之前沒有達到這麽熱的程度的時候,雙方也沒有出動戰機、戰艦的時候,在這種情況下,中共退一步是可以的。但是中共現在面臨的最大的問題是它的意識形態統治已經完全崩潰了。在這種情況下,它想要讓中國人民仍然認為它有凝聚力和合法性的話,它就必須使用民族主義。所以這個民族主義是它自己煽動起來的。煽動起來以後,他要去再降溫的話就很困難了。沒有出動軍艦,沒有關系。出動了軍艦、出動了戰機,再退一步的話,實際上就喪失了自己的政權合法性。因為它自己的政權合法性和民族主義和領土爭端被捆綁在一起。這對一個民主政府沒有問題。因為如果是民主政府的話,它最多倒臺也可以。另外還有其他的合法性基礎。但中共現在意識形態這方面沒有了,這對中共來說是一個很難跨過去的坎。

蕭茗:如果中國軍方真的要打仗的話,這其實會對中共造成很大的困擾,最大的困擾可能就是,中國在國際上會變的非常被動,對外貿易也會受到很大的打擊,習近平想推進的各項改革可能也會受到很大的影響,如果習近平把自己定位在讓中國社會比較平穩,他能夠領導中國實現強國夢這個位置上的話,我就很難想像他會希望中國未來和日本或其它國家打一仗。

橫河:我覺得習近平是在倉促之中接下這個燙山芋的。他現在並不希望自己來處理這個釣魚島事件。因為這裏有兩個問題。第一個問題是他確實需要提高凝聚力。但是新官上任,他可以用其他方式來提高凝聚力,不需要對外戰爭。對外戰爭對他威脅最大的是,如果能夠速戰速決的話,他可以得到他想得到的一切。但問題在於,日本這個對手不是當年的越南。在釣魚島就存在一個問題。一個是海軍的力量從來沒有經過檢驗過。第二個就是後勤供應。第三個是對手要比當年的越南要專業化的多。如果我們不比兵力,只講專業化程度的話,是相當專業的。背後還有個美國。如果這個戰爭可以速戰速決,一個星期內解決,沒有問題。但是很困難。這個戰鬥時間一拖長以後,這個問題馬上就暴露出來了。就是說,中共政權承受不了這樣一次失敗的。而日本無非換個政府。還是日本人選出來的政府。中共政權就完全不一樣了。

蕭茗:我們看一看習近平最近的一系列舉動,比如承諾提升軍隊獎勵等,給作戰的獎勵最多達到了5億元。人們很自然的就會把這些舉動和中共對釣魚島的態度聯系起來。而這種態度又和中共軍方鷹派的態度是一致的。所以我現在的問題就是,你覺得這些強硬的態度是出自於習近平本人的意願,還是受了中共軍方的壓力。

橫河:我覺得他有自己的因素在裏面,因為軍方最大的利益並不在開戰。軍方最大的利益在於把戰爭這個情況放在一個可見的未來。這樣軍方可以得到更多重視、政治上的地位和經濟上的撥款。一旦打起來的話,軍方其實不是鐵板一塊,也不是左派鷹派的問題。高層的官員並不希望打。中層的軍官可能希望打,因為以打仗,中層官員可以建功立業,然後就可以得到提升。軍隊跟所有人估計的可能是不一樣的。軍隊在國家機器裏面是最專業化的一個部分。就是打仗能打贏或是打不贏,軍方會有非常精確的計算,然後才能夠打。

蕭茗: 中國有句話,玩火者必自焚. 一直以來,中共把中國人的民族主義情緒玩弄於鼓掌之間, 這次,它可能真的有可能看到火勢失控的那一刻了. 因為無論中共內心是否想打這一仗, 釣魚島不斷升級的對峙確實是引起雙方擦槍走火的催化劑, 而擦槍走火加上群情激憤,又鋪就了走向局部戰爭的通道. 如果中日發生局部戰爭, 中國和臨國的關系,和美國的關系就將急轉直下, 中國的鄰國會更加堅定的結成同盟,並且和美國結盟共同對抗中國. 中國的對外貿易將受到沈重的打擊. 到那個時候,中國新一代的領導人可能也無暇再談起中華民族偉大振興的話題了.

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Title: War over The Diaoyu Islands? Who Would have More to Lose?

Simone Gao: In January 2013, the sovereignty dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands once again came to the public’s attention. However, this time the situation is different from September 2012. After the leadership changes in both China and Japan, the new leaders from both sides are exhibiting a more hard-line stance, over the Diaoyu Islands dispute and their respective national defense policies, than their predecessors. They have also taken certain actions. The threat of a military confrontation seems imminent over the Diaoyu Islands dispute. More seriously, until now, the outside world hasn’t seen a way out to settle the dispute. Then, will a military conflict take place over the Diaoyu Islands? If it happens, will the conflict be an exchange of fire or a regional war? Is it possible that this conflict will escalate into a full-scale war? Which party would ultimately pay the heaviest price for this conflict? In this episode of Zooming In, we will explore these issues with a U.S. think tank expert and China experts. First of all, let’s take a look at the major events leading to the Diaoyu Islands conflict.

Narrator: In mid-December 2012, two coincidental events may have planted the seed for this round of conflict over the Diaoyu Islands. On December 13, a China Maritime Surveillance aircraft flew into the airspace over the disputed islands for a rendezvous with a fleet of four Maritime Surveillance ships, which were patrolling in nearby waters. Then the aircraft and the fleet carried out a patrol both in the air and the ocean. They also urged the Japanese vessels in the same area to immediately leave China’s territorial waters. Since the nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands by the Government of Japan, China Maritime Surveillance fleet has carried out patrols in the waters surrounding the islands for five months. The maritime supervision organ dispatched the aircraft on December 13 for the first time to perform a three-dimensional air and sea patrol. Three days later, the Japanese general election results came out. The Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito Party emerged as the winners. Shinzo Abe, president of the Liberal Democratic Party, is once again Japan’s prime minister. The Liberal Democratic Party is a conservative party in Japan, and it has a relatively hand-line policy towards China.

On January 5, 2013, the new Abe administration planned to increase Japan’s national defense budget for the first time in 11 years and raise the country’s military spending by 2% in 2013, to 4.7 trillion yen, which is equivalent to 52.5 billion US dollars. The Japanese media said after analysis that the primary reason for increasing Japan’s military spending was to deal with China’s military expansion, and this was also in accordance with Shinzo Abe’s plans to amend the Japanese Constitution, exercise its right of collective self-defense and to compete with China in the sovereignty dispute over Diaoyu Islands (known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan).

In the meantime, China Maritime Surveillance fleet continued its constant patrol in the waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands. Japan also increased its monitoring of the same waters. Both countries’ foreign ministries also exchanged words, accusing each other.

On January 10, Japan’s Defense Ministry stated that after a Chinese military aircraft appeared over Japan’s “air defense identification zone” above the East China Sea, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces scrambled and dispatched F-15 fighter jets in an emergency response. The Chinese Defense Ministry said that a Shaanxi Y-8 aircraft belonging to the Chinese military was conducting a routine patrol in the airspace southwest of the East China Sea oil and gas fields and was tailed by Air Self-Defense Forces F-15 fighter jets. The Chinese military subsequently dispatched two F-10 fighters to conduct surveillance.

This is the first confrontation between both countries’ military aircrafts in the Diaoyu Islands dispute. The Chinese official newspaper Global Times warned on January 11 that there is the possibility of a military conflict breaking out between China and Japan.

At the same time, Japanese newspaper, Sankei Shimbun quoted a senior Japanese government official as saying that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked relevant government departments to strengthen its garrison measures in the areas surrounding the Diaoyu Islands. This included that “when the (Chinese) aircraft violating Japan’s airspace does not obey Japanese military’s radio warnings, the Self-Defense Forces fighters are allowed to use tracers to fire warning shots".

However, the U.S. government subsequently issued a warning to the Abe administration, demanding that Japanese Self-Defense Forces not fire tracer bullets or flare bullets at Chinese aircraft flying near the airspace over the Diaoyu Islands. The United States is concerned that if the Japanese Self-Defense Forces shoot the Chinese planes first, it will provoke China’s counterattack. China and Japan are likely to become engaged in an armed conflict.

Although Japan may temporarily abandon its intention to fire tracers at Chinese planes, Shinzo Abe’s position on the Diaoyu Islands has not softened. On January 11, Shinzo Abe said that he would not budge on the Senkaku Islands issue, and that there is no room for negotiation. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stated that the Diaoyu Islands has been China’s inherent territory since ancient times, and that the currently serious Sino-Japanese tensions were single-handedly fomented by Japan.

While the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyu Islands was escalating, Taiwan also became involved. While meeting with visiting U.S. Senator Murkowski and her entourage on January 15, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated that the Taiwanese government has consistently advocated that the Diaoyutai Islands become the inherent territory of the Republic of China and an affiliated island of the Taiwan Island. The Diaoyu Islands dispute has now become more complex.

From January 16 to 18, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Southeast Asia for three days. In addition to expanding trade relations, the main purpose of this trip was widely seen as Abe promoting regional diplomacy and uniting the Southeast Asian countries to contend with China, at a time of heightened Sino-Japanese tensions.

On January 19, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton’s remarks caused another splash. Clinton called on Japan and China to peacefully resolve their territorial dispute. However, she also indirectly warned China not to take any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine the Japanese administration’s control over the islands.

Clinton’s speech in fact reiterated the consistent position of the United States on this matter. On November 29, 2012, the United States Senate plenary meeting decided to add an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to the 2013 fiscal year, reaffirming that the defense of the Diaoyu Islands falls under Article 5 of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The amendment stated that the United States “takes no position on the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands,” but it acknowledged Japan’s administration over the islands. Article 7 of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security stated that according to the Treaty, either the United States or Japan, if they become subject to armed attacks within Japan’s jurisdiction, either party can respond or counterattack.

On January 21, China expressed its strong dissatisfaction with U.S. Secretary of State Clinton’s comments about the disputed islands, and warned the United States to take a “responsible attitude”.

On January 22nd, Japan finally showed a good attitude. During a television show, Shinzo Abe said: “We can not let the communication between the two countries stall because of one problem." He said it would be against the principle of reciprocity between the two countries. This was the first time Shinzo spoke publicly on his view regarding the relationship between Japan and China after taking office. Shinzo also said he asked Komei Party Chairman Natsuo Yamaguchi to deliver a letter to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during Yamaguchi’s China visit, and he hopes that the two sides can hold a dialogue.

It seemed that Shinzo Abe offered an olive branch, but at the same time in Japan, LDP officials and Abe reiterated that Japan has unquestionable sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.






Simone Gao: Up to now, neither China nor Japan showed substantive concessions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute. There is a saying that what triggers a war may not always be the same thing as that which caused the war. What triggers a war is usually a misfire after smaller confrontations continue to increase. We see the Senkaku Diaoyu Islands dispute between China and Japan is this: Will it develop into a misfire or even cause a regional war? How do the Japanese navy and Chinese navy compare in strength? What would the role of the U.S. be? We interviewed Mr. Richard Fisher, a Senior Fellow on Asian Military Affairs at International Assessment and Strategy Center. Let’s hear what he has to say.




Simone Gao: On a scale of 1-10, how would you describe the likelihood that China and Japan will go to war over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute?

Fisher: Conflict, I would say, the chances are significant. 4, 5, 6. A war emerging from a clash is not as high. But again it is always risky to make such predictions. China’s ambitions are fairly broad and deep. If it can initiate and contain a conflict that it can use to manipulate Japan’s strategic position, diminish that position, as well as the United States’ position, it will probably do so. But the chances of a conflict today are definitely much greater than they were a year ago.

Simone Gao: There are some things the Chinese people are really interested in no matter whether China and Japan actually go to war or not, and these things are, for example, if China can actually take on Japan on the ocean? In other words, could Japan alone deter China’s incursion?

Fisher: It can for some period of time. How long, it is difficult to say. But I don’t think that Japan would be entering into any kind of military engagement alone. The United States will probably be with Japan from the beginning. If not, in terms of an ISR level, radar communication, monitoring, sharing of intelligence, than actual combat support.

Simone Gao: Who has a stronger navy? China or Japan?

Fisher: Each has different strengths. China has just commissioned its first aircraft carrier. The aircraft carrier is a couple of years away from being fully operational. But once it becomes operational, that will in many cases provide a decisive advantage over Japan’s navy. Japan has far better submarines, which can sink the aircraft carrier and most other Chinese warships. But again China has more submarines. So, there are relative strengths on both sides.

Simone Gao: We talked about different types of confrontation. One thing people would like to know is, if military confrontation took place, is it likely to be contained on the ocean or is it possible that this could escalate into a full scale war?

Richard Fisher: It could escalate in different and unforeseen directions. Whether China would like to initiate a full-scale war, to include a broad invasion in Okinawa, missile attacks, Cyber attacks against the Japanese mainland? That would be highly doubtful. But would China inject naval forces in support of an air combat zone? That’s a definite possibility. Would China try to send amphibious and special forces to occupy the disputed islands? That’s a definite possibility. Would Japan then try to evict or capture the Chinese forces that occupy the islands? That is also a definite possibility. Once you have such a general exchange of forces on both sides, there will be a temptation to broaden and escalate the conflict. And because the United States will be likely involved very early in such a conflict, China will view the United States as much of a target as Japan.

Simone Gao: Then another question would be to what extent will the US get involved if China and Japan have some kind of military confrontation or even go to war?



Richard Fisher: That’s very difficult to say. But at a minimum, I would expect that the air forces, such as the F-22 fighters that were deployed to Okinawa just last week that they might be employed as a means securing air superiority if China attacks. These are very effective fighter aircrafts, the best in the world. However, the United States has only deployed a small number to Okinawa, probably less than 20. So how effective they would be, if China were to use hundreds of fighters in the aerial battle. That remains to be seen. But as long as they are able to be supported and as long as they have effective missile armament, I don’t think that the F-22 will be defeated in the skies over these islands. But there is an element of chance here. China has a long tradition of employing secret and decisive weapons called “sha shou jian”. What does the PLA has up its sleeve, that we cannot anticipate. This is a critical factor in one aspect of its military modernization that China has stressed, in order to increase its ability to deter the United States.

Simone Gao: No matter how intense the Senkaku Diaoyu Islands dispute is, in fact, if military conflict or even regional war between China and Japan breaks out, and if the U.S. is forced to get involved, it can certainly be concluded that it would not be a good thing for any of the three nations. But it looks like neither China nor Japan is willing to soften their tough stance. If this continues, will there be a solution? Who would pay the heaviest price for this conflict? The following is another part of the interview with Mr. Richard Richard Fisher.

Simone Gao: The dilemma for both parties seems to be that although a war is not either party’s real interest, neither can afford to look weak over this conflict, due to domestic political pressure. So do you see a way out for both parities?




Richard Fisher: I don’t accept the proposition that the Chinese Communist Party is going to be threatened, if it backs down from the crisis that it created. The threat of nationalism or the phenomenon of nationalism in China is something that is very much controlled by the communist party. Turned up, turned down as it pleases. If China were to back down and allow the return to the status quo, you will not see a revolution in Beijing the following day. That would simply not happen. However, if there is a clash over the islands, and Japan is defeated, I think what you might see in Japan is not only a very strong political reaction, a nationalist reaction, but one that would be strong enough to force the current government out of power, in favor of one that is even more nationalistically and militaristically inclined. China is really risking pushing Japan down a path towards real rearmament, aircraft carriers, missiles and perhaps even nuclear weapons. The leadership in China is endangering the security of the Chinese people by foolishly engaging in conflicts that it really cannot control and for which it certainly cannot control the long-term outcomes.

Simone Gao: Which party will have more to lose if they go to war, Japan or China?

Richard Fisher: In the near term, it will be Japan. But I believe in the long term, it will be China. Because if China initiates a conflict with Japan over these islands, it will force Japan into a much more aggressive long-term military posture, and it will force the countries around China to cooperate militarily more rigorously, and it will strengthen the strategic and political leadership of the United States. So in the long term, China will definitely be the loser.

Simone Gao: Another important event, which happened at the same time as the Diaoyu Islands dispute, was that the CCP’s army sent a signal to actively prepare for war. This is certainly adding one disaster after another to the tension of the Diaoyu Islands dispute. People also saw that the CCP may not show that it was weak in the dispute. On the direction CCP army has been taking recently, let’s ask Xueli to give us a review.

Sherry Chang: OK, Xiaoming. At the beginning of the year, the CCP Liberation Army Newspaper reported that the Headquarters of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army announced 2013 Army Training Instructions, and required the army and army police troops to train with the goal of being capable of fighting war and winning war as their objective, and with the direction of taking a war fighting job. The headquarters also required the army to strengthen their war fighting mindset, hardship consciousness, crisis consciousness, and mission consciousness, to prepare well for war fighting, and increase their ability to fight war.




On December 16, 2012, Hong Kong Contend magazine reported that the CCP Central Political Bureau discussed and passed the resolution, “Central Army Committee on Keeping the National territory rights of Diaoyu Islands, and Preparing Well to Deploy Army for War". The “resolution” defined the 5 pre-conditions to start war with Japan.




The article also revealed that Fang Fenghui, member of CCP Military Commission of the Central Committee and Chief of the General Staff, represented the four general offices, and Wu Shenli, Navy Commanding Officer, represented various military divisions in the evening of December 14, 2012. Zhang Shibo, Beijing Military District Commanding Officer, and Zhen Weiping, Nanjing Military District Political Commissar, represented the 7 military districts, land forces, provisional military districts, and presented their written pledge to ask for a battle assignment to maintain national rights and maintain national territory. Their pledge was sent to the CCP during the standing committee meeting of the CCP Central Political Committee.

In addition, Vice Presendent Fan Changlong of the Central Army Committee also announced “a localized war of high technology and high cost is getting closer and closer to us” during his visit to the Beijing Military District, and reminded the military to be prepared for “fighting one-to-one, and fighting one-to-two.” His “fighting one-to-two” is referring to US involvement.

Also, Xi Jinping promised higher pay for the entire military during his visit to various military forces and during recent meetings of the CCP Central Army Committee.

Better award conditions to military and national defense, which was passed in early December, include payouts that would be 10x to 50x in awards for military exercises, combat exercises with live ammunition, and military weapons and equipment. Special awards to individuals may be up to 20 million yuan, and to groups up to 200 million yuan. Awards for taking down invading flying objects, or sinking invading vessels can be up to 500 million yuan to a group.

Simone Gao: Thank you, Sherry. The gestures of the CCP military getting actively prepared for war and high award measures for war time fighting are all leaving people with a direct impression. It looks like the CCP really wants to have a war with a neighboring country over disputed territory. Then, what are the actual facts? What is the relationship between the Diaoyu Islands dispute and China’s internal politics? Will the CCP actively fight this war? I interviewed our long time critic Huan He, and asked these questions.

Simone Gao: When I previously had a discussion with a Western expert about whether the Chinese Communist Party would take a step back in handling the Diaoyu Islands dispute, he put forward the following view. That is, it will difficult for the Chinese Communist regime to budge on the Diaoyu Islands issue, because the nationalist sentiment in China has always been manipulated by the CCP. There will not be a revolution in China, just because the Chinese Communist Party steps back on the Diaoyu Islands issue. Therefore, I would like to first ask your opinion on this point of view. In your opinion, if the Chinese Communist Party is indeed having difficulties on the Diaoyu Islands issue, where are these difficulties coming from?

Heng He: The difficulties the CCP has on the Diaoyu Islands issue come from itself. Prior to the CCP’s 18th National Congress, the Diaoyu Islands issue was not as hot as it is now. Under the previous circumstances, when both sides had not dispatched fighter jets or warships, the CCP could have been able to step back. However, the largest problem the CCP is now facing is the complete collapse of its ideological rule over the Chinese people. In this situation, in order to make the Chinese people still believe that the CCP possesses cohesion and legitimacy, it must use nationalism. So, this kind of nationalism was instigated by the CCP. After nationalism has been instigated, it will be very difficult for the CCP to cool it down. If no warships were dispatched, it would not matter (if the CCP backs down). However, after dispatching warships and fighter jets, if they want to back down, in effect, the regime would lose its legitimacy. This is because the CCP has bundled together its ruling legitimacy, the Chinese people’s sense of nationalism and the territorial dispute. This would not be a problem for a democratic government, because if worse comes to worse, a democratic government can just be voted out. In addition, there are other basis for a democratic government’s legitimacy. However, the CCP has lost its Party ideology, and this is a difficult hurdle for it to overcome.

Simone Gao: If the Chinese military really wants to fight a war, it would in fact cause the Chinese Communist Party a great deal of distress. The largest problem facing the CCP is probably that in the international community, China may be thrown into passivity; China’s foreign trade will be severely affected; and the reforms that Xi Jinping would like to push forward may also be greatly affected. If Xi Jinping positions himself as making Chinese society relatively stable and being able to lead China to realize its dream to become a great power, I can hardly imagine that he would hope that China have a future war with Japan or any other countries.

Heng He: I think that Xi Jinping took over this hot potato in a hurry. He currently does not want to handle the Diaoyu Islands incident. This is because there are two problems involved. The first problem is that he indeed needs to improve cohesion. However, as the head of the new government, he can use means other than a foreign war to improve cohesion. The greatest threat a foreign war poses to him is…If it is a quick fix, then he can get everything he wants. However the problem is, his opponent, Japan, is not the Vietnam from the past. Regarding the Diaoyu Islands issue, there are several problems. The first problem is that the Chinese naval forces have never been tested. The second problem is the logistics. The third problem is that this opponent is more professional than the CCP’s previous opponent, Vietnam. If we don’t compare both sides’ troop numbers and only pay attention to the degree of professionalism, then the Japanese military is quite professional, and it has the backing of the United States. If this war can be fought and won quickly and be resolved within one week, then there is no problem. However, it is difficult. If the war is prolonged, then this problem will be immediately exposed. That is to say, the Chinese communist regime cannot afford such a failure. If Japan loses the war, there will be nothing more than a change of administration. It will still be a government elected by the Japanese people. The situation facing the Chinese Communist Party’s regime is completely different.
Simone Gao: Let’s take a look at Xi Jinping’s recent series of moves, such as promising to increase the rewards for the military, including rewarding up to 500 million yuan to an individual combatant. It is natural for people to link his moves with the CCP’s attitude on the Diaoyu Islands issue. Also, this attitude is the same one which belongs to the Chinese military hawks. So my question is, do you think that this tough attitude is from Xi Jinping of his own accord, or is Xi under pressure from the Chinese military?

Heng He: I think that his own factors are involved in it, because the military’s greatest interest is not about fighting a war. The military’s greatest interest lies in placing the war in the foreseeable future, so that the military can get more esteem, higher political status and more funding. Once the war starts, the military is not a monolith; and it is not about the issue of being left-wing or hawkish. The senior military officials do not want a war. The middle-level officers may want to fight in the war, because they have a chance to make achievements and then get promoted. The army may be different from what has been estimated by everyone. Within the state machine, the army is the most professional component. That is, whether a battle can be won or lost, the military will first perform a very precise calculation, before engaging in the battle.

Simone Gao: If that is the case, in your opinion, what are the Chinese military’s real thoughts? Do they feel that they can fight this war?

Heng He: At least, they do not want to expand the war. If they fight in the war, they have to have the confidence to end this war in the short term. Delays will prove to be very difficult for the Chinese navy. This is because from the perspective of a war, the geographic location of the Diaoyu Islands is the same distance from Japan as they are from China. Whether or not both sides are able to supply their naval forces remains a large problem. So, I don’t think that fighting a war now is necessarily in line with the best interests of the Chinese military.





Simone Gao: China has a saying – play with fire and you will get burned. The CCP plays with Chinese people’s nationalism all the time. This time it may really see the moment when it loses control of the fire. No matter whether the CCP wants to have a war or not, the escalated tension regarding the Diaoyu Islands is really a catalyst to cause fire between the two sides. And, having fire would add to people’s anger, which further lays the path to a localized war. If Sino-Japan are in a localized war, the relationship between China and neighbor countries, between China and US, will take a sudden down turn. China’s neighboring countries will form stronger ties, and form ties with the US to resist China. China trade with other countries will suffer significant impact. By that time, China’s new generation leader will not have time to talk about the topic to revitalize the nation.

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