China's Increasing Regional Aggressiveness, Incites a Japanese Response
As tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands continue to rise, the country is conducting its first major military drills in more than 30 years. Tokyo has ordered the protection of military installations in the wake of growing tensions over the uninhabited Senkaku islands.
The defense drills are heightened by already high tensions between the two countries, which are locked in a dispute over a series of key islands that threatens to deteriorate into outright warfare.
This year, Beijing's ships and planes have undertaken a slew of intrusions near the uninhabited Senkaku islands, also known as Diaoyu in China.
In an unexpected response to rising antagonism, Tokyo has announced military bases to defend the islands.
According to the Defense Department, the United States has purchased new F-35 fighters, converted ships into aircraft carriers, and created additional destroyers and submarines.
Furthermore, statewide drills involving 100,000 troops from all elements of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Power began this week in a massive show of force on a national scale.
The drills, which comprise 20,000 vehicles, 120 aircraft, and a US troop landing ship, are the first of their sort since 1993 and the world's largest.
According to some Japanese media sites, the maneuvers directly respond to "China's escalating regional assertiveness."
Chinese authorities are claimed to be closely following the drills and have warned that it will have "devastating ramifications" for Japan if a confrontation occurs.
According to "military specialists," the drills" could indicate that Japan is "getting ready for war," according to the state-controlled Global Times.
It also claimed that Japanese politicians had "lied" to the people, leading to "unreasonable hate and bias" against Chinese leaders.
According to Chinese commentators, Japan could not fight back and, in any case, could not act without the agreement of the US administration.
It comes when Asian nations are increasingly competing for weaponry, with China and North Korea developing hypersonic missiles and high-tech submarines, among other technologies.
Kim Jong-un recently tested a new cruise missile and a train-launched ballistic missile, both of which are capable of hitting Japan.
Fumio Kishida, a former Japanese defense minister and presidential contender has claimed that his country should acquire preemptive military equipment such as fighter aircraft and missiles to strike enemy armament on the ground before it can be launched into the air.
Tensions over the Senkaku Islands have been building for decades.
They are strategically placed near vital shipping routes, have substantial fish stocks, and have oil and gas reserves potential.
According to historical sources, China has claimed them since the 14th century, and Japan controlled them from 1895 until World War II.
They were handled by the United States after Japan's surrender until 1972 when they were returned to their country of origin.
Tensions erupted once more in 2012, resulting in major riots across China.
Tensions in the East China Sea have risen again in recent months due to Beijing's increasing military expansionism.
According to the Japanese government, the Chinese Coast Guard entered Japanese territorial waters 88 times between January 1 and August.
Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi stated this week in an interview with CNN that his country was willing to safeguard its sovereignty and draw a red line around the islands.
"We must demonstrate that the Japanese government is aggressively defending our territory by fielding a greater number of Japanese coast guard vessels than China," he said, referring to Chinese measures in response to the disputed territory on the Senkaku Islands and other locations of the East China Sea.
According to the Japanese government, "there is no territorial dispute between Japan and other countries over the Senkaku Islands."
A new "Great Wall" of fortifications has been built in the South China Sea. Japan is apprehensive that China would try to emulate its illegal seizure of Philippine archipelagos in the region.
Beijing insists that there is no dispute over who owns the Senkaku islands.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed earlier this year that "Diaoyu Island and its connected islands are intrinsic components of China's territory" and that "it is our natural right to conduct patrols and law enforcement activities in these waters."
In a verbal spat with Australia, China has also been mired and has threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in retribution over a submarine-building agreement with the United Kingdom.
On the other hand, Taiwan is preparing for an invasion by conducting its defensive training this week.