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China and the two Koreas voice concerns over Japan's new defense guidelines

Kyodo

China and the two Koreas on Tuesday voiced concerns about Japan’s latest national defense guidelines, including its decision to pursue the deployment of aircraft carriers for the first time since the end of World War II.

The policy also points out that China’s military activities in the East China Sea and other surrounding waters are a source of “strong concern” in the region.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed “strong disappointment and objection” to the guidelines.

Japan “makes irresponsible remarks about China’s normal national defense construction and military activities,” the ministry’s spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for fanning the “threat of China.”

Sino-Japanese relations have been improving and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of a peace and friendship treaty between the two nations, but Hua said Tokyo’s way of thinking is “not conducive to improvement and development” of bilateral ties.

“For historical reasons, Japan’s movements in the military security field have greatly concerned its Asian neighbors and the international community,” Hua said, just hours after Abe’s Cabinet approved the guidelines.

“We will strongly call on Japan to adhere to its exclusively defense-oriented policy, stick to the path of peaceful development, and act cautiously in the military security field,” she added.

South Korea also urged Japan to implement its security policy in a transparent manner.

“Japan’s defense policy should contribute to peace and stability in the region under the spirit of its pacifist Constitution. This is the South Korean government’s stance,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said at a regular news briefing.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said in an English story that “Japan’s push for a stronger military … has long been a source of concern for neighboring countries, including Korea and China, which are among the major victims of its wartime atrocities.”

North Korea, meanwhile, said, “Japan remains unchanged in its wild ambition for overseas aggression.”

“Japan has pushed ahead with the scenario for turning itself into a military giant, desperately denying and hiding its long-cherished wild ambition for overseas aggression as a war criminal country,” the country’s official Minju Joson newspaper said.