Commander Wissler's remarks can't intimidate China's military

By Wang Hongguang Source:Global Times Published: 2014-4-20 20:03:02

Recently, John Wissler, the commander of the III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, remarked "If we were directed to take the Senkakus [the Diaoyu Islands], could we? Yes." He added that "You wouldn't maybe even necessarily have to put somebody on that island until you had eliminated the threat, so to speak."

It has never happened in recent years that a US commander based in the Pacific division has made such presumptuous statements and implicitly declared China's PLA to be an enemy.

Was Wissler's menacing statement aimed at intimidating the Chinese people, the Chinese government and the army? He may have expected too much.

Wissler's counterpart in China did not feel it proper to respond to Wissler's provocation. I, as a retired commander in the Nanjing military region, would like to declare my stance.

First, when Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan met with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel in early April, he stated that "It is the Chinese military's mission to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity. We are prepared at any time to cope with all kinds of threats and challenges. Upon the request of the party and the people, the Chinese military can assemble as soon as summoned, fight immediately upon arrival and win any battle, as long as they fight."

China's policy on the Diaoyu Islands will never change, nor will the orientation and mission of our military.

Second, the Diaoyu Islands are subject to the jurisdiction of the Nanjing military region in terms of national defense and security. The military force within the region is more than enough to take charge of the Diaoyu Islands given the islands' offshore location.

In the past, we resorted to troop escorts while now we use armed escorts. So, the US should not threaten the Chinese public service vessels or aircraft patrolling in the sea areas and air space of the Diaoyu Islands, or its own security will be threatened.

Third, it is reported that the Diaoyu Islands used to serve as the shooting range for the US aviation forces stationed in Japan. Our forces are just in need of such a shooting range.

The advantage is the three military services in Nanjing only need to readjust the firing direction and modify the parameters. The US may need to get prepared if sometime in the future China declares the Diaoyu Islands as its shooting range.

Fourth, the Chinese army is familiar with the military geography and the environment of the Diaoyu Islands. Once the islands become a battlefield, no defenders can survive there.

We hold the same view as Wissler that we wouldn't "even necessarily have to put somebody on that island until you had eliminated the threat." Please pass on this message to Japan that it should not act rashly.

Please do not make war threats at will and show respect to the Chinese army that once defeated the US during the Korean War (1950-53). I suggest Wissler learn more about history, especially about the Pacific War (1941-45) and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), so as to figure out what Japan's militarism is.

The author is a former deputy commander of the Nanjing military region.

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