|Is Colonel Liu Mingfu provoking with animal-like comments?|
It's gotten to the point where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in, and China was annoyed that she took Japan's side.
Meanwhile other countries like the Philippines are miffed and want to get a piece of the property too.
Late last year things got so bad between China and Japan that riots spurred by the Chinese government exploded in the mainland. People destroyed Japanese cars, boycotted Japanese restaurants and harassed Japanese living there.
While these tensions previously came in waves and subsided, this time it has gotten so bad that some Japanese who have lived in China for many years have decided to pull out. Factory workers in Japanese car plants are losing their jobs because no one is buying Japanese vehicles.
The fervent anti-Japanese sentiment has hurt the Chinese economy, and yet it seems the government doesn't care.
And now we're seeing China has ratcheted up its bellicose words, threatening to use military action if necessary.
Previously the threats were more like paper tigers than actual provocations of war.
But now one hawkish colonel wants to make sure everyone is on the same page -- the one China's on.
"America is the global tiger and Japan is Asia's wolf and both are now madly biting China," Colonel Liu Mingfu said. "Of all the animals, Chinese people hate the wolf the most."
He added China was a peaceful nation, but would fight to the death if attacked.
Using animal metaphors to describe countries is meant to be degrading, and really is bizarre.
Can you imagine during the Cold War how the Americans would call Russia in animal terms?
It's interesting how the government allows military leaders like Liu to speak out and not even try to rein him in -- at least not yet.
Does this mean China is serious about going to war with Japan over a group of rocks which just happen to have some oil rich deposits?
Or is Beijing throwing out these comments to see how countries in the region will react?
In any event we are not impressed with Liu's statements that seem to provoke rather than mollify tensions. He seems to boast of China's military might, about the country's strategic missile and nuclear arsenal, though in the same breath saying he wasn't suggesting Beijing to use them.
Then what is he really saying and hinting?
Perhaps he is using this opportunity to bring attention to himself and hoping it'll win him brownie points with incoming President Xi Jinping.
We shall see, but in the meantime the animal metaphors bring on too many riddles which could result in further confusion.
The last thing we need is an accidental fight to break out...