China publicly unveiled its first generation of nuclear submarines, built several decades ago, for the first time this weekend. The subs will “gallop to the depths of the ocean, serving as mysterious forces igniting the sound of thunder in the deep sea,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a dramatic article, and be an “assassin’s mace that would make adversaries tremble.”The unveiling of the old submarines comes amid a particularly tense time in East Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is emerging as the most influential, popular, and hawkish Japanese leader in years, and in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, he vowed to push his country to break free of the restrictions of its pacifist constitution and lead a consortium of Asian nations in opposition to China’s bullying. On Sunday he addressed several thousand soldiers at an annual review of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, including an elite unit that protects far-flung islands. “We will show our resolve as a nation, that changes in the status quo by force cannot be tolerated,” he said, referring to the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its own. “The security environment surrounding Japan has become more challenging. That is the reality.”As if on cue, China issued its response: surveillance planes and military aircraft approached Okinawa Island, prompting Tokyo to scramble its fighter jets in response. Shooting down these aircraft, China’s defense ministry spokesman threatened, “would be a severe provocation to China and an act of war.”Whether America is ready for it or not, the contest in the Pacific is heating up.[Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) inspects troops of Japan’s Self-Defence Force during a military review at the Ground Self-Defence Force’s Asaka training ground on October 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.]
Game of Thrones: China Threatens Japan with "Assassin's Mace"