Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

UPI - Japan tests indigenous stealth fighter aircraft
UPI reports: "Japan is developing an indigenous stealth fighter jet, the X-2, which completed a ground test Wednesday, according to local reports. [...] Tokyo has been taking steps toward bolstering its defense after a bill was passed in 2015, which would allow its Self-Defense Force to fight overseas. The changes come at a time when Japan is growing wary of China's maritime activities in the South China Sea, and North Korea continues to conduct tests of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles."

UPI - China building radar on Spratly Islands
UPI reports: "China could be constructing high-frequency radar on disputed islands in the South China Sea, a think tank in Washington, D.C., stated in a recent report. [...] The islands in question are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, but China has continued construction despite protests from non-claimant countries, including the United States and Japan."

Comment: What are the chances that China will stand down and stop their activities in the South China Sea? The chances are probably close to zero. This means that armed conflict between China and one (or all) of the rival claimants in the future is nearly certain. China has a new generation in charge of their military, a generation that has grown up in prosperity in the era of "China's peaceful rise" and they are, bluntly, spoiling for a fight. It's not really their fault, this generation of military leaders has only known increasing defense budgets coupled with increasing nationalism. There's really only one way that ends. We may hope that cooler heads will prevail and conflict will be avoided, but I'm not optimistic.

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