Controversy swirls again in the East China Sea as a Chinese naval captain locked his attack radar on a Japanese vessel, says Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
Japan’s Defense Ministry made the announcement Tuesday, claiming such “painting” happened on January 30 and January 19. Onodera “warned that such actions increased the chances that any missteps in a dispute over the islands could veer into a larger confrontation,” according to the New York Times.
Would anyone be surprised to learn this occurred near the Diaoyu Islands?
The Chinese incursions are seen by Japanese political leaders and analysts as part of a new strategy to press Japan into officially acknowledging that a territorial dispute exists. They also say that by maintaining a nearly constant presence, China hopes to undermine Japan’s claims to be in sole control of the islands.
According to AOL Defense, the move was bullying, plain and simple.
“Pure intimidation” is how one of America’s most respected analysts of the Chinese military characterized the act of a Peoples Liberation Army Navy skipper who “painted” a Japanese naval ship with his fire control radar.
…Another top analyst, Dean Cheng at the Heritage Foundation, noted that the captain was unlikely to have taken the action on his own. “Something like this would have required the ship’s captain and political officer to agree, in all likelihood,” he writes.
Cheng compared the Chinese action (revealed yesterday by Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera) to buzzing another country’s fighter or bomber. It offers “Plausible deniability, no fingerprints (e.g., a bullet hole in a plane), but is also escalatory,” Cheng said in an email.
No one likes to see it, and no one respects it. Then again, when you’re fighting over rocks, is there any expectation for more than bush league tactics, urine-like water-cannon fire?
UPDATE, 2/8, 12:51 pm: China says it’s investigating. Via Reuters:
China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday the government was investigating a complaint from Japan that a Chinese navy vessel aimed a type of radar normally used to aim weapons at a target at a Japanese navy ship in the East China Sea.
“The relevant Chinese departments are currently conducting an earnest, solemn investigation into these reports to verify them,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.