Beijing won't be happy that they'll have no scope to pick off outlying Japanese islands without a US response.
1. I see your point but I think it is not about the Chinese CCP being unhappy or happy; their goal is to improve their position and the PLA(N) will stop advancing or pause when they meet an opponent with (i) capability and (ii) resolve. In Dragon Against the Sun: Chinese Views of Japanese Seapower
, Senior Fellow Toshi Yoshihara assesses how Chinese strategists perceive the shift in the Sino-Japanese naval balance. Yoshihara shows that the local naval imbalance, if left unaddressed, will strain the U.S.-Japan alliance and destabilize Asia.
2. The above study advances a two-fold argument.
- First, Beijing anticipates an intensifying naval rivalry with Tokyo in the coming years. According to the Chinese narrative, a combination of realist impulses, insecurity, ill will, and deeply ingrained cultural traits have inclined Japan to perceive China’s naval ascent as a grave threat. Japan, so goes this logic, will do its utmost to frustrate Chinese maritime ambitions. In conjunction with its U.S. ally, Tokyo will organize a coalition of like-minded maritime powers to surround and counterbalance China at sea. In Chinese eyes, Sino-Japanese maritime competition and naval confrontation are virtually fated.
- Second, the prospects of naval superiority—driven by China’s quest for rejuvenation by mid- century—will persuade Chinese statesmen and commanders to adopt an offensive strategy in a local maritime conflict against Japan. The accumulation of naval power has furnished warfighting options hitherto unavailable to Chinese leaders. In the past, China’s navy had to settle for operations to deny the enemy fleet’s operational and tactical objectives. Now, large numbers of advanced weaponry along with improved seamanship will allow the PLAN to launch offensive operations for localized sea control. Decisive engagements will constitute a core component of China’s war-winning strategy.
Beijing’s naval prowess has also buoyed its confidence, a mindset that had been absent in previous discourse. China is increasingly convinced that it possesses the means and skills at sea to bend Japan to its will. Such confidence will increase the likelihood that Beijing would act on its threat of violence. The convergence of China’s hardening national will and growing naval power thus bodes ill for the future stability of Indo-Pacific maritime affairs.
3. In terms of air power, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force‘s 98 F-15Js upgraded into the JSI configuration, over 60 F-2s and 147 F-35s (a mix of both As and Bs) on order, has a force structure that is by design, resourced to be superior in the air.
4. In terms of sea control and amphibious operations:
(i) the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), with its 4 Escort Flotilla, has the capability to defend these outlying Japanese islands; and
(ii) if the need arises, the 3,000 strong Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has equipping and resolve to take them back.
5. The JASDF’s sortie generation capability, the JMSDF’s ability to conduct ASW and surface warfare and Japan’s geographic position in the first island chain, all combine to loom large in Chinese thinking. The American and Japanese air and naval bases on the Japanese archipelago is a barrier to China’s maritime ambitions. These bases provide the basis upon which U.S. power projection rests. Tokyo possesses the latent capacity to choke off Chinese shipping, whether commercial or military in character. The doctrinal and unofficial literature shows that Beijing still regards Japan’s military capability and geophysical location with considerable trepidation.
6. The Ryukyus Islands and Okinawa worry the Chinese. The proximity of the Southwest Islands to Taiwan and Japan’s ongoing plans to garrison the island chain are another source of concern. The Chinese take seriously Japan’s ability to wage offensive mine warfare along the narrow seas and chokepoints. But Chinese perceptions of such immutable factors as geography have also begun to evolve. They see potential vulnerability in Japan’s position along its southern flank. These far-flung islands are hundreds of kilometers from the Japanese main islands, the logistical and material foundation of Japan’s defending forces. Should war break out, Japan would have to rush naval forces based in Yokosuka, Sasebo, and other bases to the scene of action. PLA forces could seek to interdict such reinforcements, which must flow across long and tenuous lines of communications.
7. As noted above, the writings suggest that Japan’s wartime position, may be less secure than once presumed.
8. Therefore, American willingness (with 50,000 troops based there) to stand with their Japan ally, in for any naval battle in the event of armed hostility, will protect the current peace and status quo thus ensuring:
“The greatest victory, which requires no battle.”