A Game of Chicken over the Senkaku Islands
China has raised the dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the South China sea to high levels. The Chinese, Japan and Tawian claim them as theirs. Neither side has good past history and both dislike one another. Japan and China have a mutual friend, America, yet, only Japan has a treaty with the US for self-defense.
So, when China declared a new air defense around these islands. All foreign air or naval must identify themselves and seek approval from China to transit through. Those that do not comply with the regulation face a Chinese reaction that so far is absent. Was this a Chinese bluff? I doubt it. China does not like to lose "face" over this now that it has been announced. Yet, in defiance, the US and Japan both flew aircraft directly into and over the islands. The US sent two B-52 bombers. China then sent two large scouting aircraft escorted by fighters into Japan's long existing air defense zone. China has been laying claim to nearly 1 million square miles of ocean known as the East China Sea, insisting that the sea's energy resources and fisheries belong to China.
The US and Japan will be conducting maneuvers in the area consisting of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam, guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Lassen, USS McCampbell, USS Mustin, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and a Navy submarine. China is upset about this.
So, China sent fighter jets and an early warning aircraft to patrol around the islands. They have also sent its only aircraft carrier to train in the area, suspicious at least. The only sure thing about what China might do to further intrusions is that nearly any other nation that enters this zone by air or sea will most likely get a no reaction. If, however, a Japanese ship or aircraft does so again, military action may result.
What China has done has increased the threat of war with such belligerent action from their rapid growth in the past 10 years. The islands have long belonged to Japan until China has become a world power. Suddenly, China feels it can act out on something they have long wanted to. This is worrisome for what other beliefs to they have that they have not acted upon because they do not feel strong enough?
A few weeks ago, Chinese TV ran press and radio programs about how Chinese submarines can now fire ICBM's with nuclear warheads to destroy many of the the US west coast cities from the South China Sea. The programs had maps and targeted cities and estimated that 12 million Americans would be killed.
What is the point to this rhetoric? Are they hinting that despite the close relations, there is a dark side to their military policy that differs from the political party?