Inside the Ring: China readies for ‘short, sharp’ war with Japan

By Bill Gertz

The Washington Times

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Navy Capt. James Fanell, director of intelligence for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said during a conference in San Diego that the war games last fall by People’s Liberation Army forces show that China is preparing for a short war with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea. (U.S. Navy)


China’s recent military exercises revealed that it is preparing for a short war with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea, a Navy intelligence official recently warned.

Navy Capt. James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said during a conference in San Diego that the People’s Liberation Army’s large-scale war games last fall showed that the island of Taiwan is no longer Beijing’s lone major target.

“In addition to a longstanding task to restore Taiwan to the mainland, we witnessed the massive amphibious and cross-military region exercise, Mission Action 2013, and concluded that the PLA has been given new task: To be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea, followed by what can only be expected [as] a seizure of the Senkakus, or even the southern Ryukus,” he said.

The uninhabited Senkakus islands are located north of Taiwan and south of Japan’s Ryuku islands. China claims the chain as its “Diaoyu” islands.

Capt. Fanell, who last year warned that China was escalating its bullying of regional neighbors, said security in the Asia Pacific over the past year has worsened, reaching a nadir in November with China’s imposition of an air defense zone over much of the East China Sea.

Earlier, Chinese coast guard and naval forces had conducted a coordinated series of provocations aimed at intimidating nearby nations, he said.

The provocations included China’s harassment of a U.S. warship. The encounter led to the near-collision between the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens and a Chinese amphibious ship in the South China Sea. Officials said the incident could have triggered a larger conflict between the U.S. and China.

China asserted the Cowpens had violated a defense zone around its aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, near Hainan Island. But Capt. Fanell said the U.S. ship was 50 miles away when the Chinese amphibious ship sailed within 100 yards of the Cowpens and stopped in front of it, forcing the U.S. ship to make an emergency turn to avoid collision.

The Chinese also continued “expansionism” throughout the region last year, he said.

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Pentagon plays down intelligence officer’s provocative China assessment


WASHINGTON Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:31pm EST




Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday played down remarks by a senior Navy intelligence officer who told a public forum that he believed China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea.

The comments by Captain James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were little noticed when he made them last week at a conference on maritime strategy called “West 2014” in San Diego. They can be seen here:

Fanell also predicted China, which declared an air defense zone last year in the East China Sea where it is locked in a territorial dispute with Japan over a string of small islands, would declare another air defense zone by the end of 2015, this time in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, declined to comment on whether it was appropriate for Fanell to publicly offer such a blunt assessment, but said the Pentagon wanted closer ties with China’s military.

“Those were his views to express,” Kirby told a Pentagon news conference.

“What I can tell you about what Secretary Hagel believes is that we all continue to believe that the peaceful, prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the world,” he said, referring to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Asked whether the Pentagon shared Fanell’s assessments, Kirby said it would be inappropriate for him to speak to the intentions or motivations of another country’s military.

“It’s for China to speak to China’s intentions and motivations and their relations with their neighbors. And nothing’s changed about our view here,” Kirby said.


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