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Tokyo accused of 'fabricating' China threat

Beijing takes aim at defense move

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

China on Tuesday criticized Japan for loosening decades-old restrictions on its military, and warned the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe not to take any action that could threaten stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We oppose Japan’s move of deliberately fabricating the China threat so as to serve its domestic political purposes,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters during a daily briefing.

He warned Tokyo that regardless of how it interprets its Constitution, Japan “must not infringe upon China’s sovereignty and national security nor undermine regional peace and regional stability.”

The Cabinet approved the reinterpretation of the Constitution on Tuesday afternoon, opening the door to the armed defense of the country’s allies, as well as increased participation in U.N. peacekeeping activities. According to some critics, the move also places the country on a slippery slope toward allowing the Self-Defense Forces to participate in full combat operations.

“It’s only natural for us to wonder if Japan is going to change the path of peaceful development that it has long been pursuing,” Hong said.

He also criticized the Abe administration for steamrolling the “strong (domestic) opposition” to the changes. According to some polls, more than 50 percent of the population opposes the move.

The Abe administration has cited China’s increasingly assertive behavior, along with the threat of a nuclear North Korea, as the primary reason for reinterpreting the Constitution to allow the country to use force in defense of its allies.

In particular, Tokyo has expressed concern over China’s sovereignty claims over the Senkaku Islands.

China’s state-run media launched a broadside Wednesday against Japan’s move to loosen the constraints on its military, casting the move as a threat to Asian security.

“The Japanese government is eager to break through the postwar system,” wrote the ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper.

It called the Abe government’s move “a dangerous signal, as well as a wake-up call.”

In commentary late Tuesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency challenged Tokyo with the question: “Is China on your military agenda?”

“Japan has a history of making sneaky attacks, as it did in launching wars with China, Russia and the United States in the last 100 years,” Xinhua wrote. “Now, Japan, with greater freedom to use military force, is making the world more worried.”

China, home to the world’s largest military, far outnumbers rival Japan in manpower, ships, aircraft and defense spending.

The country’s official defense budget last year ran to $119.5 billion. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance 2014 report, Japan’s total was $51 billion.

China’s nationalistic Global Times newspaper ran a cartoon on Wednesday depicting Abe as American action hero Rambo, with a Japanese flag bandanna tied around his forehead and wielding a large machine gun.

“Both Tokyo and Washington wish to see more disturbances in Asia, as the U.S. hopes it will hinder China’s rise and Japan wants to seek opportunities to realize its rise both politically and militarily,” the paper wrote.

“China needs to expose the Japanese rightists’ evil intent.”

  • wada

    It is time to repulse Chinese invasion.

  • Taro-nechan

    Official Chinese propaganda always sounds so self-serving and ironic at the same time.

    “We oppose Japan’s move of deliberately fabricating the China threat so as to serve its domestic political purposes,”.

    With statements like these you’d think Chinese authorities do not read the daily newspapers.

    • http://neotokyoproject.com Edric Koh

      It is laughable when the rest of the civilized word have been well exposed to this kind of crap from governments through the works of Orwell in Nineteen Eighty Four with the slogan of WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

      Look at China’s aggression in South East Asia, is that not enough proof that the real destabilizing power is China?

  • KonsensyaNgBayan

    Wow, just because of few numbers of demonstrators, Chinese Spokesman now verbally announce it constitute 50% of the population!…Wake-up Hong Lei, stop day dreaming.

  • carlo

    Why should China be afraid of Japan? I mean, China already defeated Japan once, when japanese military superiority was owerwelming. Now China’s military surpassed japan’s so an hypotetical conflict between the two superpowers will likely result in a P.R.C victory. Not to mention that if japan focuses on such pointless thing like improving it’s military, it spares funds and energies that can be use to solve it’s structural problem that will strangle japan in the long term.