- - Thursday, October 3, 2013

China announced last week that its army now has the capability to strike anywhere in the Western Pacific, including Japan, Southeast Asia and Australia.

The announcement was made by the Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper on Sept. 25, highlighting the completion of the second phase of the Beidou satellite positioning and weapons guidance system.

“Right now, the coverage of our Beidou second-phase operation includes the entire Western Pacific and the key nations in the region,” the Global Times reported. “All areas stretching from the First Island Chain to the Second Island Chain are under the cover of China’s satellite signals, which makes China capable of launching precision strikes against any nation in the region.”

The announcement was accompanied by 19 graphics specifying the type of satellite-guided weapons China can use to strike. They include: the air-launched CJ-10A cruise missile, the land-launched CJ-10 long-range cruise missile, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, CS/BBC5 cluster bombs, the CM-506KG airborne precision guided small diameter bomb and the FT series of precision guided bombs.

Many of these weapons are traditional gravity bombs that have been upgraded with precision guidance kits.

China’s military can give necessary responses to situations occurring around China’s periphery with its aircraft, land-based missile launchers, surface warships, and submarines,” the Global Times said.

DEFENSE ON OFFENSE

To many in Asia, China has become isolated because of its territorial disputes with its neighbors. So Beijing has adopted a strategy to upend that isolation — by attacking Japan for its past imperial aggression, which few see any connection with Japanese society today.

The strategy was on display last week when Beijing launched a propaganda campaign against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a remark he made about the Chinese and Japanese defense budgets.

Asked to compare the countries’ defense budgets at a Sept. 25 meeting in New York, Mr. Abe noted that China has increased its military spending by double digits for more than two decades, and he criticized China’s defense spending for lacking transparency. He remarked that Japan had increased its defense budget for the first time in 11 years and by only 0.8 percent.

“So call me, if you want, a right-wing militarist,” Mr. Abe said, a remark meant to be humorous.

His attempt at humor sparked an explosion of temper in Beijing.

“It is unbelievable that such senseless and degenerating words, which defied human justice and showed contempt for the universally accepted moral principles, were made by the leader of a civilized nation,” the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

“Compared to Germany, Japan has failed to substantially reflect on its aggression history and thus has little expression of remorse,” Xinhua said. “Neither has it bid farewell to militarism through school education, legislation and war indemnity, as Germany has pursued.”

“The leader of Japan must pay serious attention to the righteous appeals and international concerns,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

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