The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force scrambled F-15 fighter jets to intercept China's marine surveillance aircrafts over the Diaoyu Islands Saturday. Although Prime Minister-elect Shinzo Abe announced he would defer dispatching law enforcement staff to the islands and will instead send envoys to neighboring countries to mend ties, his hawkish stance will not change, and nor will the right-wing tendency of Japanese society. The friction and tensions between China and Japan will continue to rise.
More Chinese are wondering if a war will break out between the two. Some strategists believe that although neither has the will to fight a war, the Diaoyu dispute could be the trigger. Once the dispute intensifies into a war, the sentiments of the public from both countries may explode, which will result in large-scale military clashes.
The Chinese public knows little about the country's military strength and their contempt for Japan is soaring. The deeply rooted resentment against Japan, once ignited, will have incredible power.
If China's marine surveillance aircraft is downed during its confrontation with Japan's fighter jets, the Chinese public will demand that the government take revenge. An apology from Japan will not be enough, and the public will expect a Japanese jet to be taken down. The government cannot turn a blind eye when its citizens suffer losses in the islands.
The Chinese government is playing the leading role in securing Diaoyu's sovereignty. Japan's provocation in the islands is no longer aimed at individual Chinese but is a direct challenge to China's reputation. If the government steps back, it will become the world's laughing stock. If it goes forward, it will face military confrontation between the two.
Going forward is the only choice for the Chinese government, while it needs to think carefully about how to strike Japan's arrogance and at the same time maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Chinese government should simulate the various situations of an intensified Diaoyu crisis and enunciate principles that require Japan pay the same price. The principles should be made known to both Japan and the US. There's no compromise over the principles.
The Chinese public should also be informed of such principles, so that they will know about the Chinese government's determination in safeguarding the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and the importance of a well thought out strategy. China will carry out policies that are reasonable and forceful.
The principles will make outsiders acknowledge China's firmness in its actions and stop harboring any illusions. They will believe China has a bottom line for its actions, and will not misunderstand China's necessity to take military revenge on Japan.
Of course Japan may retaliate against China, leading to a large-scale war. If this really happens, China can only face Japan in a catastrophe intentionally set by the US.