Beijing Slams Japan Defense Paper

The inclusion of a section on the South China Sea may have triggered anger.

Chinese paramilitary soldiers training in eastern Anhui province, Aug. 3, 2011.

Beijing's official media on Thursday hit out at a Japanese defense white paper that describes China's regional behavior as "assertive."

"Japan's latest version of its annual defense policy paper has done nothing but jeopardize its relations with China and heighten tensions in the region," an article by the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Japanese report, endorsed by the country's cabinet on Tuesday, cited strong concerns about China's increasingly assertive presence in the East and South China seas and its friction with its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Beijing is likely responding to the inclusion in this year's paper of a section on movements in the South China Sea, where China has run into opposition with Vietnam and the Philippines over disputed claims of sovereignty.

It says China's actions could "affect the peace and stability of the region and international society."

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said Japan's 2011 defense white paper promotes the "China threat theory."

"China will unswervingly stick to peaceful development, develop partnerships with its neighbors, and pursue a defense policy defensive in nature," Xinhua quoted Geng as saying.

"Japan is massively obsessed with the notion that China is a threat and should be contained," the article said.

"It has also been trying to invoke China's rising power as an excuse to realize military expansion and shake off the yokes of a defense-oriented policy that has been carried out since its defeat in World War II."

Military drills

The article cited the defense white paper as saying that Japan, for its part, had taken part in a total of 13 multinational military drills in the Asia-Pacific region since last year. "Its joint exercises with the United States have been even more frequent."

It accused Tokyo of "fanning the flames" over the South China Sea, and "attempting to internationalize the disputes, which China would never accept."

"History has repeatedly proven that such irresponsible comments and malicious intentions as those in Japan's defense paper harm regional stability and the common aspirations for peace and development in the region," the article said.

Tensions have risen in recent months around the disputed Spratly and Paracel island chains, claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam and in part by the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Last month, Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted guidelines to make the 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the contested South China Sea more binding.

However, a wider accord on which country owns what remains elusive.

Vietnam and China have held separate live-fire military exercises in the disputed maritime region near the Spratly and Paracel island chains after Hanoi accused Chinese ships of ramming one oil survey ship and cutting the exploration cables of another.

Hanoi also said sailors from China's navy had beaten the captain of a Vietnamese fishing boat and confiscated its catch.

The standoff sparked a wave of anti-China protests in Vietnam and warnings from Beijing to Vietnam not to try to involve the United States.

Last month, Vietnam and the United States carried out joint naval exercises in spite of disapproval from China.

China has underlined its "indisputable sovereignty" over the South China Sea, saying its claims stretch back at least to the 1930s, when official maps from Beijing contained the whole sea as Chinese territory.

Beijing has also rejected calls by ASEAN states for arbitration by the U.N.'s International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an independent judicial body set up by the Convention of the Law of the Sea, the global legislation covering all maritime territorial disputes.

Reported by Luisetta Mudie.


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Aug 04, 2011 04:31 PM

China need to shut up. It has no right to lecture others about their defenses. Every countries surround China has every right to develope strong defense to counter the china threat. China cannot be trust and should not be trusted.

1950 – Invaded Tibet

1962 – Invaded India

1974 – Indirectly involvement killing 2 millions cambodian (proxy through Khmer Rouge)

1979 – Invaded Vietnam.

Aug 09, 2011 08:00 AM

China must stop its acts of bullying its neighbours. China must know the world has no place for bully.