Over the past week, much has been said by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet members about the ongoing rift with China’s government in relation to the Senkaku Islands, which the Chinese refer to as the Diaoyu Islands. One of which is the possible use of “tracer” fire as a response to any incursions on Japan’s airspace. The Chinese government did not take these comments lightly.
Tracer ammunitions are often used to guide a platoon on where to fire. In this instance, however, the tracers will act as a sort of visual warning sign to get the attention of the pilot who may have missed radio calls; at the same time, it shows that the one who fired them is ready to take further action. Last Wednesday, January 16, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was asked if tracers will be fired against foreign aircrafts who would not change course, and although indirectly, he answered in the affirmative. “Every country has procedures for how to deal with a violation of its territory that continues after multiple cautionary measures,” he said, and added that the response measures of the government are not contrary to global standards.
Following this, Chinese media reported that Major General Peng Guangqian responded to Onodera’s statements by saying that Japan’s plan to fire tracer shots to scare off the Chinese is a joke, and that it “shows the stupidity, cruelty and failure” of the Japanese “to understand their own limitations.” He also interpreted the warning shots to be a provocation, equating it as “firing the first shot”, one that would give them pass to retaliate.[via AP]