Japan's defense report a ruse
Updated: 2012-08-01 08:07
Not surprisingly, China has again featured in Japan's annual defense report released on Tuesday.
To justify Tokyo's ambition in the region, the Defense of Japan 2012 report plays up its concern over China's military, including Chinese naval vessels' activities in the Pacific Ocean. It says China is likely to expand maritime activities, and conduct operations and training as routine practices in waters near Japan, which Tokyo is increasingly worried about.
Given the report's logic, every move China makes to build its navy and defend its land and waters may be at fault in the eyes of the Japanese. Such prejudice is nothing but a feeble attempt to propagate the outdated "China threat" theory.
As a country with a vast territory and long coastlines, China is fully justified in enhancing its military capabilities. Because of the complicated environment China faces today, it is important that the Chinese military, the navy included, is able to respond timely and effectively to potential threats to its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
China is committed to a defensive national defense policy, and its military buildup will not pose a threat to others. The Ministry of National Defense highlighted the notion again at a news conference on the eve of Army's Day, which falls on August 1.
Japan's concern over China's military activities is unnecessary. As an important player in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan should instead show greater commitment to regional peace and stability.
As a major document stating Japan's view of its security environment and its defense policy, the annual defense report should have sent a more fair-sounding message to the outside world, especially its neighbors in Asia.
Asian countries are feeling increasingly worried about the rising influence of Japan's rightists on its defense policy, which has made the country stretch the limits of its constitution. Japan has also become more aggressive in its maritime territorial disputes with neighboring countries, including China.
It has even tried to meddle in the South China Sea issue. Instead of trying to ease the tension there, Japan has done a lot to intensify it. On Monday, for example, a report quoting the Japanese embassy in Manila said Japan would supply 12 boats to the Philippines, which has a recent maritime territorial dispute with China, in 2014 to improve the surveillance capability of the Philippine coast guard.
This Japanese trend does not bode well, for it is at odds with the generally peaceful environment in the region.
(China Daily 08/01/2012 page8)