BEIJING – China accused Japan on Tuesday of “making trouble” by nationalizing the Senkaku Islands.
“On the issues concerning China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, some neighboring countries are taking actions that complicate or exacerbate the situation, and Japan is making trouble over the issue of the Diaoyu Islands,” the Chinese government said in a defense white paper, the first such report issued in two years.
Diaoyu is the Chinese name for the disputed and uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.
The Japanese government responded immediately by protesting the report through diplomatic channels, repeating that there is no territorial dispute between the two countries because the islets are Japanese territory.
Bilateral relations have deteriorated since the central government purchased some of the islets from a Saitama businessman last September.
Citing a military-civilian drill in the East China Sea last October, the paper says the People’s Liberation Army Navy has enhanced capabilities in partnership with marine surveillance and fishery administration departments to coordinate command and respond to emergencies in joint military-civilian operations to safeguard maritime rights.
Titled “The Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces,” the paper says the Asia-Pacific region has become an increasingly significant stage for world economic development and strategic interaction between major powers.
“The U.S. is adjusting its Asia-Pacific security strategy, and the regional landscape is undergoing profound changes,” it says, referring to Washington’s efforts to “rebalance” its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific from other regions.
Without naming the United States, the paper calls for vigilance against such a shift, saying that “some country has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation there tenser.”