PLA ordered to commence war against Japan “when appropriate”

PLA officersPeople’s Liberation Army officers

Chan Kai Yee of China Daily Mail, a blog with no connection to Beijing, Feb. 22, 2014, provides the following summary translation of an article in ( Forward Looking), a Chinese-language news site headquartered in the city of Shenzhen in China’s southeastern Guangdong province, with offices in Beijing and Hong Kong:

Quite a few people have said that the conflict over the Diaoyus (known as Senkakus in Japan) has passed the stage of oral confrontation and what follows may very probably be direct military conflict.

It is especially so as, relying on US support, Japan is obviously declaring war against China already.

Sources say that China’s Central Military Commission has directly given Chinese military the instruction: “Fight if it is appropriate to fight.”

Sources pointed out that they had received information that Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave a relevant warning to a Japanese economic and trade delegation that recently visited China.

Xi specially pointed out to the delegation when he met them, if Japan kept provoking China and thus gave rise to an unstable situation, it alone has to be responsible for all the consequences.

See also “U.S. Navy intelligence chief: China training for a quick war against Japan.”


10 responses to “PLA ordered to commence war against Japan “when appropriate”

  1. StMA, do you think comments like this on some blog are just some typical citizens spouting off (sort of like us)? What are the chances these sorts of inflammatory (or so it appears to be) commentaries are “trial balloons” and Information Operations to condition the Chinese public attitude toward acceptance of war?


    • Jim:

      “Yes” to both of your questions. I don’t know what exactly is — whether it is an unofficial mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. But I do know that, like other media in China, could not operate and continue if it didn’t have Beijing’s approval.


  2. Much war-justifying projection versus Japan… fits the aggressive ADIZ moves, etc., perhaps hoping they goad Japan into something they can “defense themselves” against to their benefit.


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  4. A. James Gregor, Ph.D. & Professor

    It has become eminently clear that we are destined to live in interesting times. With the PLA fashioning world class capabilities at an unanticipated pace, with an administration in Washington disposed to “draw lines” the crossing of which would supposedly bring down woeful results on the head of the transgressor — to go on and forget on Tuesday what was threatened on Monday–does not augur well for the credibility of the United States. For Japan to resist any of China’s armed provocations, Tokyo would have to have confidence in Washington’s commitment to Japan’s security — a commitment that would have to be instantaneously available in a crisis. (Just think of the forces the United States would have to deploy to blunt or suppress a PLA attack on the disputed Japanese islands). Things are not looking well in the West Pacific.


  5. This sounds to me as if it is an instruction not to back down in an incident.
    That is, I do not think “fight if it is appropriate to fight” means start a war per se.
    It does not imply, say, a planned invasion. Rather I think it means to not back
    down in a confrontation; not to comply with a directive from Japanese coast
    guard or navy ships to leave the area or orders from Japanese fighter planes
    to leave the area. While such things amount to a technical state of war,
    in this case it is a way to escalate the political situation – to say ‘we are serious’
    and ‘you should consider if your position is worth fighting over.’

    I do think the decision has been made to play the ‘the primary justification’ card.
    “The economic justification” was always regarded as something which would not last. [That the Party feels it needs to justify staying in power is in itself revealing of things I doubt they like to reveal – like the Nazi’s in Germany they feel they NEED popular support. Germany was afraid to fully mobilize lest it lose popular support – and only did so in February 1945! Taxes in the UK and in the USA were higher – because the Nazi’s fear popular reaction to such high rates of taxation.] The primary justification requires the expansion of PRC to include formerly Chinese territories. Of course, CCP decides what those areas are – and that is a slippery definition. But they are likely seriously intending just that. Just as Hong Kong and Macao were recovered in the 1990s. The Denruy Islands may be regarded as the lesser of all options – less provocative than say trying to annex Taiwan – or even its offshore islands. I also doubt the Chinese claim in the Ruykus ends with these islets either. The object is to have a series of options – and just go for one at a time. Nevertheless, that does not mean war is contemplated per se. Instead, they hope to intimidate using military means. Remember, Japan is the most demilitarized of all the large and medium powers – and that it has a powerful anti-war sentiment – doubly so re war with China which cost it so dearly in the 20th century. PRC may calculate that making it clear it is not posturing will cause concessions to be made.

    This is good news for China alarmists (like me). China is showing its true colors (Red?) and that its “peaceful rise” is something of a pipe dream. This will tend to make its neighbors stand together against it – and to want backing from the USA and others outside the area. A Taiwan game a few years ago had NATO units in it – something I thought was outrageous. But for some years we have had NATO out of area and in SW Asia as well as in Afghanistan – so who knows – maybe it isn’t?
    The way to get the world upset with China is for China to be aggressive. Europe surely learned the lesson of appeasing the Nazis.

    In spite of that, I think we are ill advised to act as if war is inevitable. I think those who welcome war are in the main those who have no direct combat experience. As Admiral Nagumo said, on the occasion of the attack on Pearl Harbor, having been informed the young pilots were ‘eager’ for battle

    “Of course they are eager. They don’t yet know the taste of battle.”

    Lord Mountbattan put is better:

    “There is nothing half so melancholy as a battle lost

    except a battle won.”

    The most tragic event of my life was having to bury something like 113 young Vietnamese – never mind we were euphoric to be alive at all – having been badly outnumbered. What a waste, we said, over and over again.

    I think it is wise to write and think in terms that it might be possible to come to terms with PRC. The best way to deal with any problem is to face it directly. Also to be credible. Credibility comes from being honest. Admit things that are true but not in our interests to admit. Be willing to consider addressing unpleasant truths. After all, war is even more unpleasant, and even less predictable than negotiation is. Above all, let get our act together. Decide what we are willing to fight over? Here plural implies different nations. And to the extent we want to be able to fight if pressed beyond what we are willing to yield – we need to prepare to fight.

    Here George Washington comes to mind:

    “The best way to preserve the peace is to prepare for war.”

    Being seen to be prepared is a deterrent I believe in.

    But do not allow preparation for the worst case – armed conflict – obscure that we don’t want it. Are the Denryu Islands really worth losing lives over? If so, on what scale? And why? I am not saying there are not sound answers to such questions. I am saying we need to make it clear what those answers are – not just to soldiers and diplomats – but to the public. Almost a thousand died over the fruitless invasion of the Falklands – the only modern naval/air/ground war in two generations. It appears not to have been a deliberate decision per se – but rather a result of poor choices in the context of a confrontation caused by an activist scrap dealer (who raised an Argentine flag – not over the Falklands – but over South Georgia – which had only one resident at the time – the British magistrate). Not many of the histories of the war fail to comment on the cost being excessive. Yet there were principles involved – and in different senses – on both sides. I submit it might be possible to take China at its word and actually NEGOTIATE. But not if “negotiation” means we dismiss their case 100% beginning to end. Here – and in the islets of the South China Sea – it is at least theoretically possible the various nations might be able to agree to SHARE resources on some basis. If the real fight is over oil, and other minerals, would not shared development – or independent development in different defined zones – be much better than warfare? Nobody lives in either area (sans small garrisons in the SCS) –
    no civilians – and no major economic investments have yet taken place. Further – development resulting in oil and other production might be an incentive NOT to fight in future – because it would interrupt the production.

    It is for this reason I advocate admitting the history of the area has pros and cons,
    and that indeed we think the formal PRC position that advocates negotiation is better than confrontation. Only if we write and talk like that is it likely we might get to the point of actually talking. This business of “China is bad, China is in all respects wrong, and China has no claim of any sort to anything” isn’t going to persuade them diplomacy might work.



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