Game players must be wary of miscalculation: China Daily editorial
In an apparent show of force and with an eye on China, the United States, France and Japan kicked off week-long joint ground and naval military exercises on Tuesday in Japan's Kyushu region.
Australia is scheduled to join the part of the exercises that will be held in the East China Sea.
The involvement of the French and Australian militaries in the waters is unprecedented. But to justify the war games, which include fighter jet and amphibious operation exercises, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Tokyo was looking to expand its military ties with "like-minded" countries beyond the US.
Japan may also want to send a message that more members of the US alliance system now stand behind it, in the hope that this helps bolster its position in the maritime disputes with China over islands in the East China Sea. Apart from this self-serving calculation, Japan may also be looking for more geopolitical gains as it is enthusiastically echoing the US administration's policy in rallying allies and confronting China over regional flashpoints.
Hence, the ongoing war games at Japan's doorsteps and in the East China Sea can be perceived as a step in it helping to implement the confrontational China policy of the US.
In fact, in their desperation to engage China in their strategic competition, the US and its allies have ignored the dire consequences of staging war games while the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world, including in Japan.
But China will not be daunted by the strategic pressure either from the US alone or from any packs of allies it may form. Long gone are the days when China was a weak country that had no choice but to yield to the invasion and bullying of Western powers.
No matter where the provocation comes from in the future, be it from the East China Sea or the South China Sea, China has both the resolve and the capability to defend its territorial integrity and core interests. Although it is committed to non-confrontation, and so does not have any alliances, China will not sit idle and allow its territory to be encroached upon by others or its core interests undermined.
The US' increasing strategic pressure on China has only further strengthened China's determination to cultivate a world-class defense force with improved combat capabilities and combat readiness so that it can timely and efficiently respond to any possible and potential threats and provocations.
The People's Liberation Army Navy, which celebrated its 72nd birthday last month, has made tremendous strides over the past several years, transforming itself into a modern fighting force.
As such, it would turn out to be a costly mistake if the US and its allies miscalculate the situation and think that they can use coercion to force China to back off from defending its core interests.