China’s Diaoyu Goal: “Wear Out” Japan

While both sides may be moving to ease tensions in the disputed Diaoyu Islands, Reuters reports that the Chinese navy continues to send ships to the area in an attempt to overwhelm the inferior Japanese forces tasked with detecting their movements:

A daily stream of bulletins announce ship deployments into the East China Sea, naval combat exercises, the launch of new warships and commentaries calling for resolute defense of Chinese territory.

“The operational goal in the East China Sea is to wear out the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and the Japan Coast Guard,” said James Holmes, a maritime strategy expert at the Newport, Rhode Island U.S. Naval War College.

It wasn’t until China became embroiled in the high stakes territorial dispute with Japan late last year that its secretive military opened up.

Now, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is routinely telegraphing its moves around the disputed islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

Earlier this week, a former Chinese defense ministry official sought to dampen speculation that a war would break out over the disputed islands, while China’s current ambassador to Japan cautioned that a high-level summit on the issue was still “unlikely.” See also previous CDT coverage of the Diaoyu Islands and other territorial disputes.