The Pentagon dismissed the statements made by a senior Navy intelligence officer in a forum regarding China’s alleged preparations for a “short, sharp war” with Japan. Director of Intelligence and Information Operations at the U.S. PACFLEET Captain James Fannell was speaking at a conference on maritime strategy titled “West 2014” when he made those comments based on reports they’ve been compiling about the situation in East Asia.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, spokesperson for the Pentagon, reiterated the U.S. desire to cultivate stronger ties with China’s military while declining to comment on Fannell’s assessment of the situation in the East China Sea. Kirby added that it was Fannell’s “views to express.” When asked whether he agrees with the intelligence officer’s analysis, Kirby responded, “It’s for China to speak to China’s intentions and motivations and their relations with their neighbors. And nothing’s changed about our view here.” He noted that despite Fannell’s views, the Pentagon shares the belief that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has on the matter, “that we all continue to believe that the peaceful, prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the world.”
The relationship between China and U.S. ally Japan has continued to sour due to China’s continued military buildup and territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, as well as lingering historical issues. Speaking at a public forum in San Diego, Fannell said that China is currently engaging in military drills to exercise power in the region beyond its “long-standing task to restore Taiwan to the mainland” to “conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea.”
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