As the row over the rocks that are claimed by not only Japan and China, but South Korea and Taiwan continue, a former UN Ambassador has warned that any conflict in the region could quickly become global.
Former Chinese Ambassador Sha Zukang said in a report in The China Times:
If China started a war with Japan, it would be much larger than both the Sino-Japanese War and World War II, said Sha. The United States and Japan should cooperate with China to maintain regional peace.
In the last few days Japan has set up its own air defense zone, and that has spurred South Korea to do the same. It’s the overlap of the air zones that could lead to further confrontation between the countries. The Korean zone comes into effect on December 15th.
Beijing’s implicit threat to shoot down any aircraft that fails to adhere to its new air control zone in the East China Sea is a watershed moment for the world. The issue cannot easily be finessed. Other countries either comply, or they don’t comply. Somebody has to back down.
The gravity of the latest dispute should by now be obvious even to those who don’t pay attention the Pacific Rim, the most dangerous geostrategic fault line in the world.
Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, accused China of “profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo”. (source)
The situation in the Far East should not be dismissed as mere sabre-rattling. Both China and Japan have a culture where ‘honor’ is highly prized and backing down is seen as a sign of weakness.
The area around the Islands are rich fishing grounds and surveys show that natural gas is abundant in the area. Honor aside, these two things alone could turn what started as a regional disagreement into a major confrontation that spills over and effectively starts World War III.
The US sent B52s through the middle of the Chinese Zone in an act of defiance. Does this mean they are backing Japan or will they do the same to the Japanese and Korean zones?
We have been on war watch for some time now, the world is becoming an increasingly volatile place. This threat, though, is different. The Arms Control Association lists China as having 240 nuclear warheads. They also have the largest land army on the planet and an air force that is capable of intercepting and/or shooting down planes that violate its newly set up air defense zone. It’s to be hoped that China decides to use words rather than actions, but only time will tell.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. Wake the flock up!