Japan, France wary of Beijing’s reclamation binge in South China Sea


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande shared concern Sunday over China’s reclamation projects in disputed areas of the South China Sea also claimed by other countries, a Japanese official said.

On the fighting in Ukraine, Abe and Hollande agreed it is important for all countries concerned, including Russia, to implement a cease-fire agreement to halt fighting between government forces and pro-Russia rebels, according to the official.

The Japanese and French leaders met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Schloss Elmau, south of Munich. The other G-7 members are Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and the United States.

Abe told Hollande that China has been pushing ahead with reclamation “at a rapid pace” in the area, the official said. China has built artificial islands and facilities on them in disputed parts of the sea, provoking other claimants including the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

Japan believes it important to be united with the other G-7 countries in dealing with the Ukraine crisis, Abe was quoted as telling Hollande in an apparent reference to economic sanctions imposed over Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last year.

Abe also told Hollande he sees the need for Japan to hold dialogue with Russia’s leaders to settle the long-running sovereignty dispute over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

The former Soviet Union seized the isles in the closing days of World War II, and disputes over the issue have prevented Tokyo and Moscow from signing a peace treaty to formally end the war.

Hollande said he completely understood Abe’s position on the bilateral dispute, according to the official.

Abe and Hollande were committed to cooperating toward the so-called COP21 conference on climate change that France will host later this year, according to the official.

  • Filmar

    Add France to the list of countries lining up against China…..Looking more and more like game over for China.

  • wfraser11

    Filmar. I’m quite interested in this too.
    But China is tone deaf and they will not stop making nebulous and vague claims about their “sovereignty” in the S China Sea.
    Expect additional bellicose behavior against all of its neighbors.
    They may even open fire on military aircraft or warships that approach
    the Spratly Islands area.
    They’ve already chased off all the Filipino fishermen. Expect more not less hostility.
    Also we’re going to see naval surveillance ASW and anti surface aircraft, helicopters
    and likely jet fighters stationed on thse runways they’re building. We’re also going to see frigates, coast guard cutters, frigates and mine warface and amphibious warfare vessels visiting or ported out of there.
    China intends to extend its military footprint all the way across the S China Sea
    so that warships and aircraft operating there have Chinese assets south and north of them at all times. The runways also allow the Chinese to foray more easily into the open Pacific with aircraft and warships. The Philippines military and navy are a non factor because they don’t exist basically.
    So yes, you can expect more, not less Chinese activity, and hostility, and threats.
    But it will be asymmetric. They won’t actually attack anyone again for a while nowthat they’ve managed to start building a naval port and military airfield on the shores of the Philippines and in Philippine waters. It will heat up as they transfer assets out there however.
    And it doesn’t appear that anyone is going to invade and throw them out.
    Therefore for now, all they need to do is be a little hostile, make vague threats, keep their claims a little nebulous and build their bases.
    They are more vulnerable right now than they’ll be five years from now out there.
    HOWEVER, if China experiences an economic downturn, its leadership may use the South China Sea as an opportunity to start a war to distract the citizens.
    And since the citizens are mindless trolls who don’t have the balls to form a democracy, they’ll just let big brother run the show as long as things are getting better. Then, maybe a little war too. especially against its smaller neighbors.
    Like uh, the Philippines. time to start spending some money on weapons, warships, minelaying ships, fighters,

    • JimmyJM

      Agree with all except all after “HOWEVER”. Even in an economic downturn, they won’t need a war (though a skirmish with Vietnam or Japan might provide the distraction necessary). Just the threat of war will be sufficient. Like Russia in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, China is counting on fait accompli. Once they’re done, no one will be able to dislodge them, witness Tibet and what is now known as Xin Jiang. Both countries learned well from Joseph Stalin and from Israel.

      • They have already determined to go to war. War for Xi is better than peace because his rule is strengthened by the death of innocents. The only hope is that economic failure could dislodge him from power.

      • JimmyJM

        I don’t think so. An occasional skirmish perhaps but the risk of getting the U.S. involved is too great right now. China takes the long view. They’re not ready to get into a war with the U.S. right now but in another 20 or so years, the situation will almost certainly be more favorable to them. They want to bully and meddle without actually shooting. Their activities in India are a good example. The other variable is the CCP. Xi may be its head but the Chinese Communist Party still has the power and can displace him if necessary. A corruption scandal (contrived or otherwise) is all it takes to depose anyone.

      • James

        Actually the US is not ready get into a war with China.

      • JimmyJM

        You can believe that if you wish.

      • James

        I don’t want to. But looking at the US’ reluctance to engage with IS or take action against Russia over Crimea leads me to conclude that a bully only picks on weaker opponents.

      • JimmyJM

        Why should America get involved in either fight? If the countries of the Middle East don’t want to risk their militaries, why should America? And Europe doesn’t appear to care all that much about Putin’s annexing Crimea. Why should America get involved there? We don’t have treaties of mutual defense with anyone ISIS threatens and we don’t have a treaty with the Ukraine. While I hate to see blatant aggression rewarded, if the countries that are threatened won’t stand up against the aggressor, why should America? I have no problem with America supporting the nations of a region under threat if they’re willing to do more in their on behalf but going it alone is a sucker’s game. Getting back to the point of this article, America does have treaties with the Philippines and Japan. And China is well aware of that.

  • wfraser11

    If they do shoot at anyone, it’ll spiral into a fight because that’s a red line.
    I think they know that but they might think they can get away with it.
    We’ll see.

  • If you were thinking of visiting China on vacation or to explore business opportunities: you should delay your trip.

    The rising tensions in the seas around China have revealed a new threat to world peace. It turns out that the opening of China is viewed by the Chinese communist party as having gone far enough.

    For Xi, the new Emperor of China, the opening to the west must be closed to preserve his place of power. He is cracking down on his peers using a corruption campaign. He is restricting thought about anything not approved by the party – a fear of new ideas. Xi seeks to cement his authority with a conflict against his neighbors.

    While China was once a business opportunity, it is now a trap. Your business will be supporting an outlaw government. Your vacation dollars used to buy military hardware.

    Boycott Chinese goods and merchandise. Avoid travel to China for any reason. It is the patriotic and American sacrifice that must be made to avoid nuclear war. The whole world should be stopping this new Hitler. The whole world.

  • zer0_0zor0

    So much propaganda, so little time…

  • Tim

    Both turn a deaf ear on the Philippines occupies 8,, Malaysia 15 and Vietnam more than 28, and all
    have airstrips.