War hysteria in China has not been this screechy since the 1970s.
The newly appointed supreme leader President Xi Jinping has completely revamped the command structure of the People’s Liberation Army and given the world’s largest military force a central mission: get ready for a war, quickly.
The official communist newspaper, The Global Times, accused Washington of an “insidious strategic plot to make trouble for the Chinese-Japanese relations” in the conflict over the Diaoyudao islands, which Japan also claims and calls the Senkaku islands.
“Under the direct control by the United States, right-wing forces in Japan are using the dispute to challenge China’s sovereignty, and other countries such as the Philippines in the South China Sea region, are provoking us and acting ridiculously,” the newspaper said last week in an unusually harsh commentary stated.
The article stopped short of calling for a direct war with the United States, but it warned that “China must be prepared for war; speed up economic and military preparations required of a military struggle; speed up our nuclear second-strike capabilities; and actively develop overseas strategic and military support bases.”
Last Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington and reiterated the U.S. policy of neutrality in China’s territorial dispute with Japan.
“Although the United States does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, we acknowledge they are under the administration of Japan,” she said.
“We oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration, and we urge all parties to take steps to prevent incidents and manage disagreements through peaceful means. … Our alliance with Japan remains the cornerstone of American engagement with the region.”
In response to Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang registered his government’s “strong dissatisfaction and resolute objection.”
“The United States bears a historical responsibility that it cannot deny over the Diaoyudao problem,” said the government spokesman, without elaborating.
“These statements [by Mrs. Clinton] are without factual support and without regard to the right and the wrong.”