A senior Chinese military officer said in a recent interview with Kyodo News that Beijing did not want a war over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands claimed by China in the East China Sea, but it was also "not fearful" of armed conflict either.

Lt. Gen. He Lei, a former vice president of the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences, also indicated the possibility that China would target the Senkakus, which it calls Diaoyu, as well if it attempted to capture Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island, through the use of force.

The rare reference by a senior Chinese military officer to a possible war over the Senkaku Islands suggests Beijing's determination to gain control of the territory that Japan brought under state control in 2012.