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Kishida retraction: China a ‘concern,’ not ‘threat’

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida effectively retracted his remarks over the weekend in which he described China’s military expansion as a “threat” to the region, saying Tuesday that he instead meant to say “concern.”

The remarks, made in a Sunday appearance on NHK, “would not change the view the Japanese government has so far held,” Kishida told a news conference. “Therefore, in my remarks, I meant to say ‘concern,’ not ‘threat.’ “

The foreign minister, however, noted that his remarks reflected growing concern among Japan and other nations in the region about China’s military spending, which he said is increasing in an opaque manner, and its increasingly visible maritime activities.

Kishida said that in making the remarks, he had in mind China’s frequent dispatch of government vessels to waters around the disputed Senkaku islands.

On an earlier NHK program, Kishida said China’s “opaque way of increasing its military spending and aggressive maritime advancement is a threat not only to Japan, but also to the region as a whole.”

ODA white paper

The government places emphasis on expanding aid to nations that share with Japan free and democratic values, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in an annual white paper on the country’s official development assistance.

The 2012 white paper, reported to the Cabinet the same day, indicates Tokyo’s so-called values diplomacy push, in which aid is used to share basic values with other countries at a time when China is seeking to expand its influence in East Asia and beyond.

The report summarizes the nation’s ODA efforts in 2011 and maps out its new undertakings in the field of development aid. Emphasis is placed on India and Vietnam, both experiencing friction with China, as well as on sub-Saharan Africa, a resource-rich region where China has also directed development aid.

The largest recipient of Japan’s ODA in 2011 was Vietnam, at $1.01 billion, followed by India at $796 million and Afghanistan at $750 million.