Defense white paper stresses threat posed by China

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The Defense Ministry said Tuesday it remains deeply concerned about China’s maritime ambitions in the region, particularly in the light of Chinese domestic trends.

The defense white paper for 2015 examines a range of global threats and pays particular attention to China’s growing military assertiveness in the East China Sea and South China Sea, accusing it of “high-handed” actions to change the status quo by force.

“Coupled with a lack of transparency in terms of military and security affairs, China’s military development is of concern to the regional and international community, including our country,” Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told a news conference following Cabinet approval of the annual paper.

“Our country needs to observe it closely,” he added.

The Cabinet’s approval of the white paper came after the Liberal Democratic Party rejected a draft version in early July on the grounds that it was too soft on China.

The white paper says in its assessment that China “has been continuing activities seen as high-handed to alter the status quo by force and has attempted to materialize its unilateral claim without making compromises.”

It adds that some of these activities “could trigger contingencies.”

China has been building an offshore gas platform in the East China Sea since June 2013, the paper says.

Japan and China agreed in 2008 to jointly develop natural gas fields in the East China Sea, where the two countries have not agreed on a boundary between their exclusive economic zones. Under a demarcation Japan has proposed, China’s new gas platform would lie on the Chinese side.

The paper says Japan has raised its concerns over the project. “Our country has repeatedly lodged protests with China’s unilateral development and urged it to stop the construction work,” it says.

The references to China’s action in this matter was added after the LDP rejected the first draft. The party reportedly said it lacked details about China’s building of a platform that it fears could be used for military purposes.

The paper notes that China “routinely” sends ships to waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

It says the Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets a record 464 times against Chinese aircraft close to Japanese airspace in fiscal 2014, up 49 times from a year earlier.

“Activities by Chinese naval and air force aircraft, which apparently gather information about our country, have been observed frequently,” it says.

In November 2013, China abruptly declared an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea that covers the Senkakus.

On the situation in the South China Sea, the paper cites international concerns about China, including some expressed by the United States, saying it has conducted reclamation work “rapidly” and “on a large scale” at seven reefs in the Spratly Islands.

“China . . . is believed to be promoting the construction of infrastructures including a runway and port on parts of the reefs,” the paper says.

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, but parts are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The paper notes that a Chinese fighter jet intercepted a U.S. Navy aircraft at close range in August last year.

As for North Korea, the white paper says concern is rising in the international community over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons.

“North Korea has conducted nuclear tests three times since 2006” and has “repeatedly indicated” its readiness to conduct further tests, according to the paper.

The paper warns there is an increasing risk of North Korea deploying nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles that could reach Japan.

It also notes that North Korea announced in May it had successfully test-fired a newly developed submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Meanwhile, the paper says terrorism continues to pose a constant, pressing security challenge to international society.

“The risk of terrorism has been on the increase in developed countries and our country is not immune from it,” the report states.

  • ricohflex

    USA handed over Diaoyutai to Japan for ADMINISTRATION. Not for ownership. Because USA recognised the island’s ownership is yet to be determined. USA did this knowing very well that Japan would proceed to claim it as Japanese territory. In other words, it was a poison pill. It was a piece of meat thrown to two dogs to fight over.
    USA wants the world’s 3rd most powerful economy (Japan) to fight with the world’s 2nd most powerful economy (China). USA will benefit from the fight and retain its position as the world’s 1st most powerful economy. Japan’s PM Abe wants to militarise Japan. This sort of thing is not done overnight. It takes time (about 30 years) to build a war machine big and powerful enough to wage war on other nations. When Japan is ready, there is no need to find a real reason to fight. Japan will create a fictitious excuse just like the Mukden incident was created to invade Manchuria in 1931 & the Marco Polo Bridge incident was fabricated as an excuse to invade China in 1937. They already have a ready made excuse waiting to be used – Diaoyutai. But PRC is still very weak in military terms in 2015. PRC navy is in no shape to take on Japan SDF navy.
    If they fight in combat today, the PRC navy will be wiped out. Really.
    PRC has 30 years or less to prepare itself for a fight that it does not want, but which may be forced upon it. Unfortunately and unlike in WW2, this time USA will not be defending China against Japan. PRC is on its own and it better wake up.

  • Jennie Pc Chiang

    Characteristics will not be changed because of times or environment. It seems to me that President Obama will make the history repeated it again. Japanese soldiers were violently brutal during the War II. Japanese soldiers killed a
    large number of noncombatants and engaged in looting and women were not only
    raped but brutally tortured and mutilated or even buried Chinese or Korean
    alive when Japanese invasion of Taiwan, China, Korea and other Asian countries.

    Now, Mr. Shinzo Abe do not stick your nose in other people’s business. Mr. Abe has no business in the South China Sea. Again, there is no dispute over South China Sea. When Philippine and Vietnam ratified the treaty between Japan and Republic of China, herein after ROC. Both Philippine and Vietnam relinquished their sovereignty over the South China Sea. Mr. Aquino III undoubtedly understand that there is no disputed in South China Sea when Philippines ratified the 1951 San Francisco treaty which in 1952, Japan renounced all right, title and claim to the Spratly and Paracel Islands to the Republic of China (Taiwan), by way of Article 2 of the bilateral Japan–Taiwan (ROC) Treaty of Taipei. This treaty followed — and referenced — the territorial renunciations of the Islands by Japan under the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. Under this treaty, only China or Taiwan (ROC) has sovereignty over South China Sea. As such any island occupied in South China Sea by Philippine or Vietnam is considered occupying force. It will legally jeopardize for China when occupied forces to bring a suit against lawful a territorial owner of China or Taiwan (ROC).

    Who is a real threat to Asian Continent security? Not China and It is the United States and Philippine. Philippines, under Mr. Aquino III whom incited by President Obama’s administration, are more blustering and overbearing behavior against its neighbors. Filipinos usurps American power to bully and harass its neighbors, such as violently attacks or unlawfully and barbarically seizes Taiwanese fishing boats and even invasion and attempts to occupy Malaysia’s island, under the acquiescence their American cohort. If the United States has
    a strong interest in preservation of peace and security in the South China Sea, then, the United States should not involve in the conflicts.

    Jennie PC Chiang江佩珍 07/21/15 美國

  • Liars N. Fools

    So China is building a gas platform that would be on the Chinese side of the demarcation line that Japan has proposed. That is indeed provocative. Abe Shinzo has essentially put Japan’s strategic mindset into the hands of America’s Pacific Command.

    • PulSamsara

      No one believes your propaganda : )