China not impressed with Japan’s Defense Paper

Less than a week after Japan’s Defense Ministry released its White Paper that took aim at the dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands, China has fired back, calling it “untruthful” and saying it wrongly projects Beijing as a threat.

Japan’s Defense White Paper released ten days ago, was the annual report on the nation’s defense capabilities and regional security.  The document lashed out at China for behavior Tokyo said could stir an international incident.  “China,” the report said, “has taken action described as coercive, which includes risky behavior.”

The White Paper was the first issued by Tokyo since the feud between China, Taiwan and Japan over the Senkaku Islands located in southwest Okinawa Prefecture in the East China Sea began brewing last year.  Disgruntled, China’s defense ministry spokesman Geng Yangsheng said “it deliberately ignores facts and plays up ‘China’s military threat’”.

The Japanese defense document outlined intrusions into Japan’s territorial waters and violations of Japanese airspace, “and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency.”  Japan administers the five islands that form the Senkaku island group, although Beijing is claiming them as Chinese, calling the islands Diaoyu. Taiwan also claims sovereignty over the desolate islands.  Japan says its fighters had to be scrambled more than 300 times against Chinese planes flying near Japan’s airspace in the first three months of this year.  That, says Tokyo, is a new record.

Geng, also says China’s conduct is legitimate in safeguarding its national sovereignty, and pointed out that the Japanese paper was filled with groundless accusations.  Geng described China’s role as being on a peaceful development path.  China, with the world’s largest military, has significantly increased its military capabilities in the past few years, including introducing its first aircraft carrier into service last year.

Japan, since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came into office last December, has heard the new Prime Minister lobby against Japan’s commitment to pacifism.  Abe has called for a constitutional revision, which has also irritated China, as well as both North and South Korea.  They think Japan’s position stirs memories of past military and colonial adventures.