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China general says 'half or one-third' of forces enough to defeat Japan

All Headlines 09:57 September 16, 2014

BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- A Chinese general has criticized Japan of "striding on the path of remilitarization" by passing a slew of security bills to reinterpret its pacifist constitution, saying only "half or one-third" of Chinese forces are enough to defeat Japan if a war breaks out between the two nations.

The unusually hawkish remarks by Peng Guangqian, major general of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), were made at a recent security forum in Beijing to mark the 120th anniversary of the start of the Sino-Japan War, at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over territorial disputes.

Japan has approved resolutions that reinterpret a key article of its pacifist constitution to exercise the right of "collective self-defense," which means that Japan can fight abroad for the defense of its allies if they are under attack.

"Japan is striding on the path of remilitarization now," Peng was quoted as saying by the Chinese military's official PLA Daily on Tuesday.

"What should cause serious concern is that while completely denying its history of aggression and eagerly reviving the militaristic ideology, the Japanese administration has flagrantly broken the restriction of the constitution and law and successively lifted the ban on its right of weapon export and collective self-defense," Peng said.

Citing Japan's victory in its war against Russia in the early 1900s and its bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II, Peng warned of "Japan's old trick to carry out surprise attacks and make wild bets on war at the same time in hopes of a success."

Given the rapid modernization of the PLA, Peng said the Chinese armed forces could easily defeat Japan in case of a war or a military provocation.

"If a war is inevitable between China and Japan, I'm fully confident in our military forces and comprehensive national strength," Peng said.

"I believe we are more than able to counter Japan's military provocations. This means that we don't even need to deploy all our military forces, just a half or one-third is enough to teach it a good hard lesson," the general said.

Besides Japan, China has been locked in a series of bitter diplomatic rows with its neighbors, including Vietnam and the Philippines, over maritime disputes, while Beijing's neighbors are keeping a wary eye on its increasingly assertive naval reach.

At the same time, the United States is pivoting its military presence to the Asia-Pacific region.

Peng described the U.S. as a long-term strategic challenge, but Japan as a "realistic danger."

"As the revival of Japanese militarism poses a severe challenge to China's national security, it is a realistic danger faced by China now and for a period to come," Peng said. "While the U.S. is a strategic challenge in the long term, Japan is a realistic danger that cannot be ignored."

kdh@yna.co.kr
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