Expert: Japan’s idea of blockading China is delusion

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Yao Jianing
2016-01-07 21:58

BEIJING, January 7 (ChinaMil) -- Tokyo is stringing a line of anti-ship, anti-aircraft missile batteries along 200 islands in the East China Sea stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) from the China's mainland toward Taiwan, aiming to destroy the Chinese Navy in Battle, according to the website of the National Interest magazine of the United States.

Liang Fang, a Chinese military expert, said when receiving an interview by reporters from People’s Daily Online of China that Japan’s military deployment along the “blocked island chain” to prevent Chinese warships from penetrating it to enter the open sea may have a certain effect.

As Japan was unable to blockade China when Japan had a strong national power during the Cold War period, Japan’s idea of blockading China within the first island chain under the current situation of its inferior comprehensive national power to that of China is a delusion.

Japan has strengthened military deployment on its southwest islands.

Japan also proposed an even larger military presence in its plan, namely over the next five years, Japan will increase its Self-Defense Forces on islands in the East China Sea by about a fifth to almost 10,000 personnel, according to the website of the National Interest magazine of the United States.

Those troops, manning missile batteries and radar stations, will be backed up by marine units on the mainland, stealthy submarines, F-35 warplanes, amphibious fighting vehicles, aircraft carriers as big as World War Two flat-tops and ultimately the U.S. Seventh Fleet headquartered at Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, reported the National Interest magazine.

As early as from November of 2013 to June of 2014, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) once deployed ground-to-ship missiles on the Miyako Island of Okinawa prefecture.

According to a plan of the Ministry of Defense of Japan, a total of 800 troops will be deployed on the Miyako Island by the end of 2018, including garrison troops, ground-to-air missile troops and ground-to-ship missile troops.

In addition, the Okinawa-based latest-model underwater acoustic monitoring system will be deployed by the JGSDF and the U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

The system can cover a large sea area of Japan’s southwest islands in the Pacific Ocean and can detect Chinese submarines entering the Pacific Ocean from the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

Moreover, the U.S. has successively deployed two sets of land-based X-band radars in Aomori of northeast Japan and Kyoto prefecture of central Japan respectively.

As a result, the first island chain of the U.S. and Japan has been completely upgraded to an “anti-missile monitoring chain”.

Recently, Japan has shifted its strategic focus from the northeast direction to the southwest direction and highlighted its military deployment in important straits, including the deployment of Type-88 anti-ship missiles on the Miyako Island so as to immediately blockade the strait if necessary.

In addition, Japan has also strengthened its military base construction, including its increasing military deployment on islands near China’s Diaoyu Island, and at the same time, Japan has deployed most advanced phased-array radars on Yonaguni Island 110 kilometers away from Taiwan, which can cover China’s whole southeast coastal areas.

In the future, Japan will possibly deploy the most advanced F-35 fighters and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) it has bought at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base, so that its fighters can reach the East China Sea after a one-hour flight from the base to quickly launch air raids. Liang Fang said that Japan’s practice aims to deter against China’s strategy of “building China into a marine power”, and the 1,400-kilometer-long “blocked island chain” will certainly have a certain effect to prevent Chinese warships from breaking through the first island chain to enter the open sea.

Japan’s idea of blockading China is a delusion.

The U.S. media also mentioned that through its military deployment, the JGSDF can tie down significant portions of China’s warfighting capacity while depleting manpower and materiel. Any attempt to eliminate the Japanese ASCM (anti-ship cruise missile) threat would require the PLA to open a geographic front about 600 miles wide. A Chinese suppression campaign involving air power and ballistic- and cruise-missile strikes would accelerate the rate at which the PLA consumed finite stocks of munitions, airframes and airmen.

Beyond the tactical benefits, strategic dividends would accrue to Japan. Such geospatial restraint would reduce the likelihood of escalation and dovetails with Tokyo’s defensively oriented posture, bolstering its diplomatic narrative on the world stage, the website of the National Interest magazine of the United States concluded.

Liang Fang pointed out that the intention of Japan’s practice is quite clear that Japan supports the Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy of the U.S. and assists the U.S. to contain China’s development in the region.

The reason for Japan’s willingness to be a pawn of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region is to prove the value of its own to the U.S. and obtain benefits, and through this way, Japan forced the U.S. to accept Japan’s lifting of the ban on collective self-defense and its amendment of pacifist constitution, Liang Fang analyzed.

But it is doubtful for Japan to achieve its goal, Liang Fang said. Although Japan is superior to China in some aspects under the strong support from the U.S., Japan is still inferior to China to a certain extent in the comprehensive strength in political, economic and military aspects, and as for military strength, Japan possesses no absolute superiority to China, Liang Fang noted.

As Japan was unable to blockade China when Japan had a strong national power during the Cold War period, Japan’s idea of blockading China within the first island chain under the current situation is a delusion, Liang Fang concluded.

The author is Qiu Yue, reporter from the People’s Daily Online.

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