PLA may use fishing boats to lead Diaoyutai assault: Japanese media

A number of Japanese media outlets have been discussing the possibility of China launching amphibious warfare against Japan over the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) in the East China Sea, according to the Global Times, a tabloid under the auspices of the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.

A Chinese fishing boat operates near the disputed islands in the East China Sea, Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo/Xinhua)
A Chinese fishing boat operates near the disputed islands in the East China Sea, Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Tokyo-based Sankei Shimbun recently reported that the first step the People's Liberation Army may use could be to surround the disputed islands with fishing boats. The boats could potentially slow down the Japan Coast Guard due to their numbers and Chinese special forces would be able to use the distraction to conduct an amphibious operation dressed as civilians. After that, the paper said, Beijing would be able to launch a full-scale invasion to defend their "fishermen."

Facing this potential challenge, the Tokyo-based Nikkei reported that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force has decided to establish the Second Airborne Early Warning Group consisting of E-2C early warning aircraft at Naha in Okinawa. Meanwhile, Okinawa residents have requested the government in Tokyo to open a travel route between the island of Ishigaki and the Diaoyutai via the construction of a harbor, as well as radio and weather stations on the disputed territory, Nikkei said.

Zhang Zhaozhong, a professor at the PLA National Defense University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Apr. 13 that all of the Japanese efforts will be in vain without the support of the United States.

Zhang also noted the comments of Lt Gen John Wissler, the commanding general of US Marine Corps in Okinawa, who recently said that the US is capable of defeating a Chinese invasion of the disputed islands without mobilizing ground forces. Zhang believes that despite the remark, it does not mean Washington will fight Tokyo's war.

The US military budget has been cut, Zhang said, so Wissler will say anything that makes Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe feel reassured and willing to pay for the American military units stationed in Japan.

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