News / Asia

China's PLA to Troops: Prepare for War

Chinese sailors march during a parade at a training base of China's North Sea Fleet in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province on Monday, March 5, 2012. Chinese sailors march during a parade at a training base of China's North Sea Fleet in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province on Monday, March 5, 2012.
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Chinese sailors march during a parade at a training base of China's North Sea Fleet in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province on Monday, March 5, 2012.
Chinese sailors march during a parade at a training base of China's North Sea Fleet in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province on Monday, March 5, 2012.
As tensions between China and Japan escalate, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been told to prepare for war in a training directive issued by the General Staff Headquarters, which oversees the entire PLA.

“The PLA and the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (APF) should focus closely on the objective of being able to fight and winning battle, vigorously strengthen real-combat-like military training, practice and innovate the training mode under information-based conditions and intensify efforts to cultivate new-type and high-caliber military personnel,” according to a reference to the directive on the English version of the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the PLA. The directive was issued in Chinese and is entitled “Instructions on the PLA’s Military Training in 2013.”

Past directives have largely focused on coordination among the various PLA branches, in contrast to the strong language of this year’s version.

“What has attracted attention is that the directive has called on Chinese forces to be prepared to fight using a particular Chinese term,” said Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese foreign policy and security at MIT.

The term, according to a report in the South China Morning Post, is dazhang, which means “fighting wars.” The phrase did not appear in last year’s directive.

While the official directive does not mention Japan, a commentary about the directive also appearing in the People’s Liberation Army Daily makes clear that Japan is the would-be adversary.

Citing escalating tensions with Japan over the ongoing dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, the commentary claims the new administration of Japanese  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is working to “draw” Vietnam, the Philippines and other East Asian countries together “to contain China.”

“Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have held very frequent drills focused on the Diaoyu Islands for the past days, and boasted of firing warning shots at China’s marine surveillance ships,” according to the commentary, which is signed by Guo Jianyue, a senior reporter at the newspaper. “This confrontation between China and Japan, which has been so rare since World War II, has escalated from the original air force mutual monitoring over the waters around the Diaoyu Islands to the verge of war.”

Despite the rhetoric, Allen Carlson, an associate professor of government at Cornell University, said China could be merely sabre rattling.

“I still think, and perhaps I am wrong, that most of this is bluffing, an extreme form of such an action, and not one that is not without the risk of escalation, but still falls short of an actual declaration of war, and from direct military engagement,” he said. 

Carlson added that China has not engaged in direct military conflict of any sustained kind since 1979 with Vietnam.

“Now, past performance is no guarantee of future outcomes, but until this line is crossed, I will continue to think that Beijing is likely to want to stop short of it,” he said.

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by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 17, 2013 10:27 PM
@ Chang from Beijing

I referred to your comment that people of China have no access to other view points. Tell me how do you access to this site VOA and voiced your comment if what you claimed is true.


by: Minh Tran from: Dallas, USA
January 17, 2013 9:40 PM
US never trusts China, and it has obligation to protect its allies.

In Response

by: Heath from: United States
January 20, 2013 12:07 AM
@Minh Tran, Hey don't get on here and speak for all of us in the U.S., Cause there are a number of others we don't trust, We are students of history. You keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But you keep your eye on ALL. And when your security is threatened you warn and warn untill like the rattlesnake, You bite. There are alot of us "We the People" that are damn tired off policing the world. And we would just as soon it stay over there.

In Response

by: parker from: CHINA
January 18, 2013 12:01 AM
Don't forget that your ally is a big enemy to USA in history and hit your country.

Someday the dog will bit you if you donot precaution with it.

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 17, 2013 11:00 PM
@ Minh Tran

It's true that US never trust China and likewise China does not Trust US.

This unfortunate issue has to do with both countries have not really communicate fully and maturely with respect of each other.
If they could have more exchanges and dialogue and less meddling into their domestic affairs I am sure the situation could improve greatly.


by: remie from: canada
January 17, 2013 4:12 PM
Although war is not good ,China is aggressive in all fronts . This is one example of many. But hypocritic China tell other countries not to make trouble.
Japan now has every right to arm itself and prepare for self defence.


by: Bill from: Toronot
January 17, 2013 2:36 PM
It is good to see China to prepare to flight against the agressive Japan as we can see Japan is trying to expand its imperial Japanese army and going to extreme right wing by using China issue as an excuse. This shows Japanese Abe which original comes from the World War II war criminal family want to bring back its glory by expanding its forces. It shows no repent to what they did in the World War II. This is very dangerous to let Japan continue to do this and the United Nations should be aware and not allow Japan to expand the military to interrupt the peaceful Asia. It is also violate the World War II agreement and Japanese laws. Japany should learn from Germany how to learn respect from the neighbours and the world.

In Response

by: Schneider from: B.R.Deutschland
January 17, 2013 10:01 PM
@Bill from Toronot, You must learn much more about the world affairs and the right history. You must have been taught false history by PRC. Germany has never appologized for the WWII but for the Holocaust. I believe Japan is not based on imperialism any more; instead, PRC is country of imperialism that is out of time nowadays.

In Response

by: Minh Tran from: Dallas, USA
January 17, 2013 9:38 PM
China can not cover its ambitions to expand its territories on the sea as well as on the land. It is making trouble with Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippine, Malaysia, and India. Sure, it prepares for war to follow the step that Japan took in WWII. China should be the one learning how to respect its neighbors and the world.


by: Yi Xu
January 17, 2013 9:05 AM
using WW2 war victims as catalyst to Instingate hatred and may be blinded sympathy is surly a proven propaganda tactic of efficiency which has been denigrated for it's overuse today's stigmas of the dispute over the Pinnacle Islands is rather lucid and simple
1 Maoist in China is the main source of Anti-USA and Anti- Democracy
2 run a war against Maoist specifically in the same genre of War On Terror by targeting their Families Relativesand Interests Over Board ruthlessly ,
3 Maoists have been provoking terrorism ideology in for years just label some Maoists as War Provoker and eliminate their interests with decisive methods such as drone
4 Maoists are basically greedy corny coward and selfish people ,the only thing their cares was their own interests (families relatives money),the only reason they are provoking this is their fantasies of getting out the war zone by some Green Cards and Bank Accounts
5 there are Maoism guerrilla fighters pillaging India Nepal and Peru today,they are terrorists we have to deal with it

In Response

by: Andy D.
January 17, 2013 2:59 PM
Using a Chinese name to post an anti-Chinese comment; how brilliant. The term "Maoism" is too old, and it's nothing related to these territorial disputes.


by: Kamikaze from: Japan
January 17, 2013 1:30 AM
China insists that the Senkaku islets belong to China from ancient time. However, this is not logical, because many dynasties (Han tribes, Qing tribes, and even Mongolian tribes) have ruled the territory that is called "China" in English now. Japan legally obtained the Senkaku islets after confirming that Chinese dynasty (Qing) at that time admitted that the Senkaku islets belong to Japan. PRC (communist China) is entire different from the Qing dynasty and has no right to offer the claim to the Senkaku islets. Japan is not provoking PRC, instead, PRC is provoking Japan by intruding every day in the Japanese inherent territories (both Japanese waters and airspaces), because PRC wants to involve Japan in the territorial disputes. PRC never observes international laws and even human ethics. When PLA fires even one bullet, it falls into a bottomless abyss.

In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
January 18, 2013 10:03 AM
The 50 Cent Gang & the CCP are wrong. The Qing were Manchus, not Chinese. During the 1911 revolution, Chinese people cried out "throw out the foreign Qing Manchus." The Manchus ruled China from 1644-1911 but they never considered themselves to be Chinese & hung on to their Manchu identity & culture. In fact, the Manchus forced Chinese men to cut their hair as a sign of subjugation. The Qing divided Chinese cities into a Chinese section & a Manchu section. Don't believe Chinese propaganda.

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 17, 2013 10:15 PM
@ kamikaze of Japan

Sound like you lack the understanding of Chinese history and its ethnic groups that make up of people of China.

The Qing, Han and the Mongols are the three of the five largest ethic group in China.

In Response

by: Anonymous
January 17, 2013 12:00 PM
Qing is Chinese, and PRC is an extension of the Chinese. Therefore, the dominion of all that was under Qing is under PRC.


by: Chris Lynch
January 16, 2013 10:04 PM
I hope we protect Japan.

Just because we owe the Chinese money doesn't mean anything. They could dump our bonds, but, we could retaliate economically , as well.

In Response

by: CelestialOne
January 21, 2013 12:36 PM
I hope US protect Japan. The Chinese need to get rid of two problems at one go.

In Response

by: another chinese from: sydney
January 18, 2013 5:59 AM
what do you talking about? nuclear against nuclear? we have 1.3 billion people in china, you have 0.3 billion, you gonna be kidding me! 20% of world population is Han people, just so you know. Pretending tough is stupid.

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 17, 2013 11:28 PM
Under the Alliance Treaty between USA and Japan it would be necessary for USA to defend Japan if Japan being attacked.
but if the provocative acts and the conflict are caused by Japan, do you think it is right for USA to fight a war that is not of their making. If it comes to that many thousands of Americans and Chinese will be killed because of Japan irresponsibility and USA blindly followed through its Alliance Treaty.
To extent this further if any country that has a Treaty of Alliance with USA could misused this alliance treaty principle to reached their selfish goal by grabbing other country territories or subjugate other nations knowing that USA could come to its aid.

One would expect USA to be more mature in understand and react accordingly to their Alliance Treaty and the intention of its Ally.

China dumping US bond as what you have suggested would cost a calamity in the financial market. I do not believe you really thought thoroughly before you made this comment. It is not in both countries interest that this action should be considered.


by: OZAWA from: JAPAN
January 16, 2013 9:25 PM
China is being surrounded by many potential enemies created by itself: Japan, South Korea, the ASEAN, India. Even Russia cannot trust China because of its devious, untrustworthy and greedy nature (serious and systematic violation of copyrights) and its warlike, pirate policies. That is why China has low international prestige compared with that of the USA, Japan, the European nations, Russian and even Vietnam. If the war breaks out, the PLA will be defeted easily because it is isolated internationally.

In Response

by: nugroho from: indonesia
January 17, 2013 12:58 PM
For Temujin, I don't know who you are but you are dreaming.
I am Indonesia, and never facing any China thread, I think so are Thailand , Russia ,and Australia. If you are affraid of China, don't place us in your front line against China. Your politics to encounter China had been introduced by Hillary, and it failed. You must go to Indonesia, Thailand, Russia and Australia first, they have so many overseas Chinese, China will never attack us.

In Response

by: Parker from: Shanghai, China
January 17, 2013 4:04 AM
Japan is now stepping down and down from previous strong power.
And that will not be reversed in the future.
Japanese is always extremist and cruel . It is now Japan who is provoking to China . We China has conceded a lot in the Diaoyu island . Remember, Only the weaker will draw some so-called neighbouring countries to get united to fight the stronger.

In Response

by: Joe from: USA
January 17, 2013 3:11 AM
You should replace "China" with "Japan" in your words.

That's why all asians cannot trust Japan. Japan only has three neighboring countries, and it has disputes with all three (100% of them).

In Response

by: Temujin
January 16, 2013 11:29 PM
I am agreed with your assessment and would like to add few notes: China is a nation formed by war aggressions from the Qin to Mao dynasty. Its motives and and intentions are clear, chinese have not satisfied with illegal land grabbed from Tibetans and Ughurs, they want to grab more land and water from others. Their ultimate goals are Russia Siberia and Australia, the only 2 places big enough for their expansion and breeding. To achieve their world domination motive, they first want to achieve regional hegemony by trying to isolate Japan, South Korea, ASEAN, and push America back to other side of the Pacific. Asia must form a security and defense alliance with Japan, America, and India at the center. We must help Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam national defense to counter chinese threat in the South East. It is very dangerous for Asia and the world to allow an unstable and erratic china possess nuclear weapons - We need counter balance from East and South East of Asia against chinese nuclear weapons.

In Response

by: love China from: Canada
January 16, 2013 11:11 PM
It's 2013, not 1937 or 1895, if Japan think it can invade China again, please try it, you'd better try, shameless Japanese!


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 16, 2013 6:34 PM
"Carlson added that China has not engaged in direct military conflict of any sustained kind since 1979 with Vietnam." Well, I guess he is not aware of the long ongoing situation in/around the Spratley Islands. The China of 1979, was that; today's China is a completely different nation, and has completely different industrial resources and capacity levels; its armed forces, are one of the most modern in the world; its nuclear force, is also one of the largest; its manned space program is well underway; its economy a rising, to the top, star; and the aspiration's of China's leadership, towards energy and mineral self sufficiency, will require the exploitation of natural resources, well beyond China's contiguous seas. The necessary ownership assertion/takeover of the seas is in progress...The days of ignoring China, its capabilities, and its will power are behind, burried in the ashes of imperial colonialism. Nations in the area, need to prepare very well, and join in strong regional defense agreements; and then maybe? some credible deterrence may emerge/be visible. Preparing for having a credible defensive deterrent posture, with the required tactical resources, will take time, but hoping that China is bluffing, could be a costly end mistaken approach to deterrence. For deterrence to work, it can't be like estimating program costs for a gvmt project; which are normally poorly estimated by a factor of three or four. In deterrence, poor estimates lead to confrontations.

In Response

by: Anonymous
January 17, 2013 11:58 AM
LOL... You have no idea of the issues here.

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 16, 2013 10:16 PM
@ JKF from Ottawa, Canada

Your last part of your comment culpable to the extent of instigating the all asian nations to prepare for war with China. Such warmongering attitude does not fit well to your early part of your comments.

Most Asian nations are peace abiding nations apart from Japan which had the first hand experience in brutal murdering of Asians in particular Chinese in the Asian Region.

You mentioned of China capabilities and its will power behind, are buried in the ashes of imperial colonialism. Are you prepared to nominate which country had been colonized by China as compared to Japan attacked of China sovereignty and the occupation of other Asian nations during the WWII.


by: Redcliff from: Aus
January 16, 2013 5:43 PM
I really hope that Allen Carlson comment is correct . Both countries need to step back and reconsider their actions and rhetoric.

Japan really needs to tone down its provocation, running round ASEAN nations and Australia drumming up for support and trumpeting in the Philippines on Maritime alliance and also seeking Vietnam support are no way in contributing to the reduction of tension in this region.

It is also time for USA to involve in making clear its intention, by saying that it is neutral on the Diaoyu Island dispute on one hand and voicing its strong commitment to protect Japan in any conflict which insinuating Diaoyu Island dispute is included does muddied the water some what and not helpful in lowering the current tension.

Both ordinary Chinese and Japanese and the citizens of the ASEAN do not want a repeat of the action of the Japan military that killed millions during WWII.

In Response

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 17, 2013 5:02 PM
If you go to the site below, you can see a very sad incident re Spartley Is. I do not know the provenance of the video, but it depicts a very serious incident. There are other videos about the sit. My comment on this article was clear, deterrence is necessary to prevent wars! When deterrence fails, wars come about, like WWII. China was weak Japan took it over... and so on. China is not weak now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy2ZrFphSmc
massacre in Spratly islands [real footage 1988] - YouTube

In Response

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 17, 2013 4:38 PM
You misunderstood what I said " The days of ignoring China ......." essentially no nation can ignore China's....will power" The old colonial powers ignored China's will, because at that time China was not powerful....

In Response

by: Chang from: Beijing
January 16, 2013 11:19 PM
To be honest, this all seems rather straight forward. Japan legally bought UNINHABITED islands from their PRIVATE owner, and now China is trying to make a land grab just as they are with several other countries at the moment. The worst part is, I'm sure the people of China have no access to any different viewpoint on the internet, as any undesirable information is blocked by the great firewall of China. If so, it is truly sad to see people get so upset over something they are not able to see the whole picture of due to government censorship.

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