With the transfer of power occurring in China, it’s only natural for new policies to be put into effect either for the improvement of society or for purely superficial demonstrations of power to both domestic and international rivals.
Currently a lot is being made on online message boards of reports coming from Chinese media outlining new orders for 2013 which apply to all branches of the People’s Liberation Army. Some Japanese media outlets have been interpreting these orders as “prepare for war… presumably against Japan.”
According to the Chinese military’s news source, PLA Daily documents dated 14 January lay out the goals for this year. These goals include “making firm preparations for war” and “increase the strictness and difficulty of all troops’ training to match combat conditions.”
Although these quotes might sound alarming, they are pretty much identical to the goals laid out last year. In fact they are probably similar to the goals of any military organization anywhere. However, new to the policy this year was an emphasis on coordinating military information between troops as the central goal.
Japan is not mentioned anywhere in connection to these goals. Nevertheless, many would argue that Japan is number one on China’s sh*t-list. This belief has been attributed to tendencies in Chinese media surrounding the ongoing Senkaku Islands dispute.
Since the beginning of this year, China’s state-run television channel China Central Television (CCTV) has reportedly been airing “Senkaku War” themed programs on a near daily basis.
It has also been reported that Chinese scholars who advocate a peaceful negotiation have been largely ignored by the media, leaving the two sides of the debate presented as “minor conflict around Senkaku” or “full-scale war with Japan.”
However, outside of heated opinions in the media there has been no tangible indication that the Chinese military is preparing to embark on an attack against Japan. As high as tensions have risen between the two countries even a minor battle seems unlikely.
According to MSN News Japan, sources connected to the Communist Party claim that during the transfer of leadership Xi Jinping had been chosen as Secretary General as well as the chairman of the military. However, beneath this leadership role the real power of the military rests in the hands of a group of hardline conservatives. The recent increase in military tension could easily be seen as simply an effort to earn the support of this faction.
So just when you thought the Senkaku bickering was growing dim, now both countries have new leadership with something to prove. It looks like 2013 is shaping up to be a whole other year full of saber-rattling and political posturing. Doesn’t that sound just peachy?