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Japan To Double F-15 Missile Payload Ahead Of "China Confrontation" After Latest Chinese Threat

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Japan To Double F-15 Missile Payload Ahead Of "China Confrontation" After Latest Chinese Threat

Post by Harry on Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:21 am

Japan To Double F-15 Missile Payload Ahead Of "China Confrontation" After Latest Chinese Threat

by Tyler Durden

Aug 22, 2016 1:58 PM

In the most recent escalation involving China's latest foray into the East China Sea, we reported that Japan's coast guard released a video of several hundred Chinese ships located near the disputed naval territory, among which 18 patrol vessels of which seven were equipped with what looked like machine guns. “Actions by the Chinese side like this, which will escalate the situation, are not tolerable,” the Japanese Coast Guard said in a statement.

This took place just days after Japan announced it would deploy land-to-sea missiles with a 300 km range to protect the nation's isolated islands, including the Senkakus, with costs for the deployment borne by the defense ministry's budgetary request for the March 2018 fiscal year, which means even more bonds for the BOJ to monetize.

China's nationalist Global Times paper immediately responded, saying :"Japan's decision to develop surface-to-sea missiles with a range of 300 kilometers to cover the disputed islands shows the country may be eyeing a shift to an offensive posture, analysts said. "Japan is trying to use the missile system to lock down the Miyako Strait and prevent Chinese forces from entering the Western Pacific Ocean," Zhou Yongsheng, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

And since neither side was willing to backtrack in this series of escalating threats, earlier today Japan's Defense Ministry announced it wants its 200 F-15 fighter jets to carry twice as many air-to-air missiles as they do now, in preparation for a possible confrontation with Chinese Air Force around disputed East China Sea islands, RT reported. These upgrades would double the number of air-to-air missiles carried by ASDF F-15s, from eight to 16 per each aircraft. In addition, damaged wings and other parts of the fighter jets will be repaired to extend their lifespan.

Currently, the Japanese Air Force operates 200 F-15s in combat and trainer variants as well as roughly 90 Mitsubishi F-2 multirole fighters, a development of F-16 design. The 2017 military budget worth $51 billion will reportedly include a separate purchase of an undisclosed number of controversial fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter jets, said to be deployed at the Misawa Airbase at the northern tip of Honshu, Japan's main island.

Tokyo says China’s “assertive” actions near the disputed Senkaku Islands – or Diaoyu in Chinese – makes Japan’s military to respond with re-deploying forces closer to the troubled area and investing into strengthening combat capabilities. “As the cruising range of Chinese military aircraft has gotten longer, they are coming ever closer to our territories,” a Japanese Defense Ministry official was cited by Nikkei Asian Review.The ministry also added the ASDF has been scrambling fighter jets 199 times from April until June to intercept Chinese planes over the East China Sea, a 75 percent increase from the same period last year.

And while Japan is focusing on expanding its airborne presence in proximity to the disputed islands, China - which would not leave Tokyo have the final word - warned Tokyo of a harsh response if it ever crossed a “red line” in deciding to sail with US warships near disputed waters surrounding China’s artificially reclaimed islands under the pretext of the Freedom of Navigation principle, Japanese media reported.

Tokyo will “cross a red line” if Japan’s Self-Defense Forces sail with the Americans, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua allegedly told a Japanese official in Tokyo, Kyodo reported citing a source.

"Japan should not take part in a “joint military action with US forces that is aimed at excluding China in the South China Sea,” Cheng reportedly told Japanese officials late in June. “(China) will not concede on sovereignty issues and is not afraid of military provocations.”

While Japan's official reassured the ambassador that Japan had no plans to join the US sails, which have intensified lately by constant American warship maneuvering near artificial islands that China has built in the South China Sea, it is unlikely that Japan will hold to its word, especially since earlier this week, Japanese media reported that China continues to expand military infrastructure next to the disputed waters, erecting a military pier on Nanji Island, one of 52 islands in the Nanji chain that are part of China’s Zhejiang Province.

Furthermore, to counter the perceived Chinese threat, Tokyo is seeking a record defense budget of 5.16 trillion yen ($51 billion) for next year to strengthen the Japanese coast guard near the disputed waters with China. Part of the funding will also be spent on neutralizing the North Korean threat by deploying PAC-3 missile defense system and the joint Japanese-US production of the Block IIA version of the Standard Missile-3 system. Japan also seeks to purchase an upgraded version of the F-35 stealth fighter.

Meanwhile, Beijing has finished long-range combat drill in the Sea of Japan with its East China Sea Fleet by launching simulated attacks to improve the capability of continuous strikes at maximum range, CCTV reported. The exercise also included air force simulation of air-to-ship missile launches against enemy vessels. The Chinese navy called the drill “routine” and in accordance with international law.

Tensions in the area were heightened even further when four Chinese coastguard ships sailed into territorial waters surrounding the disputed islands in the East China Sea on Sunday morning. The Japanese foreign Ministry responded by issuing a note of protest against the “incursion” and the violation of Japanese sovereignty.

“Despite Japan’s repeated strong protests, the Chinese side has continued to take unilateral actions that raise tensions on the ground, and that is absolutely unacceptable,” the statement said.

As the sabrerattling continues, we anticipate that so will the escalations on both sides, and while these will not spill over into a full blown conflict between the two nations, may result in another collapse in trade between the two nations, in a repeat of events that took place in late 2013, when nationalistic tensions on both sides soared, leading to the boycott of many Japanese goods on mainland China. If this transpires, it will come at a very troubling time for China, which is now growing at a quarter of the pace it did three years ago, and will likely force Beijing to issue even more debt to compensate for the lack of growth, at a time when unofficial estimate calculate China's total debt at a staggering 350%+ of GDP.

Harry
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