According to Japanese media, the Japanese government is considering permitting Japanese self-defense forces' fighter jets to fire tracer bullets as warning shots against Chinese surveillance planes which have "infringed" upon Japan's "territorial airspace" over the Diaoyu Islands.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday that China has consistently opposed Japan's infringement upon China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. China "remains vigilant against attempts to escalate the tensions."
The Chinese spokesman's statement is not enough to express the Chinese people's strong determination to fight back against Japan's unscrupulous action.
We believe that if Japan starts using tracer bullets, it will definitely trigger a military confrontation between China and Japan. Chinese people will certainly ask the government to send naval and air forces to retaliate.
Tracer bullets were used by Japan to warn Soviet Union surveillance aircraft above the Okinawa Prefecture in 1987. However, the relationship between the Soviet Union and Japan was one of war and invasion. The Diaoyu Islands are a typical disputed area.
We believe that China is carefully assessing plans to deploy combat aircraft to the Diaoyu Islands due to the imbalance between China's surveillance aircraft and Japan's fighter jets. If Japan uses tracer bullets, Chinese fighter jets are bound to be sent to the Diaoyu Islands.
China's replacing surveillance aircraft with fighter jets does not mean they will conduct military operations there. These are upgrades of China's ability to defend its sovereignty in the face of Japan's provocations. All of East Asia would face tension in that scenario, but we have no choice. We do not wish to begin a war with Japan. However, if Japan insists on provocations, we will follow it through to the end.
If the Chinese government does not earnestly prepare for it, it will certainly suffer huge political losses. The public wouldn't understand that and they would not accept any interpretations by the government.
China may fall into military conflict with Japan eventually. We hope we can continue our peaceful development, but our risk management strategies are more complex due to various pressures.
There is little room for concessions. Therefore, let us abandon all hesitation and seriously prepare for mutual warnings and confrontation with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands. If the situation goes awry, we must make Japan pay more of a price than China.
The Diaoyu Islands dispute will test the Chinese government's leadership for a long time. But we should have confidence: our rival is a bully which can even bear US military occupation. As long as we keep tough, we will not lose this test of wills.