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The analysis and recommendations in Ralph Cossa’s column “Weighing Japan’s options in the South China Sea” in the Nov. 10 edition miss the mark.

The Oct. 27 U.S. freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea was like tilting at windmills. Two weeks later it is still not clear what the U.S. was demonstrating — the right of innocent passage and thus implicit recognition of China’s sovereignty over reclaimed low-tide elevations — or what?

Is this what Cossa thinks Japan should join and reinforce?

Cossa also suggests that Japan should frame its participation in FONOPs in the South China Sea as retaliation for undefined future “Chinese provocations” in the East China Sea.

I doubt that will achieve anything other than to convince China that Japan is becoming more militarily aggressive and an existential threat.

MARK J. VALENCIA
KANEOHE, HAWAII

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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