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2010年9月14日 (火)

防衛白書 中国軍増強は国際社会の懸念

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 14, 2010)
China's military buildup worries intl community
防衛白書 中国軍増強は国際社会の懸念(9月12日付・読売社説)

China's military buildup, as well as the activities of its navy and air force, are a common concern among many countries in the region. Japan must repeatedly hold constructive talks with China, and strongly and tenaciously call on that country to dispel such concerns.

The 2010 white paper on defense explicitly says that the opaqueness of China's defense policy and military power is a matter of concern to Japan and other countries in this part of the world and in the larger international community. It also states the need to meticulously analyze China's activities.

China's military might has been an important theme in defense white papers in recent years, but the level of concern expressed in this year's report is greater than before. This is very natural in view of the rapid modernization of China's military forces and the expansion of the range of its military activities.

In the South China Sea, friction between China and Southeast Asian countries has been increasing. There were a number of threatening moves this spring: A fleet of 10 Chinese warships, including destroyers, entered an area west of Japan's southernmost island, Okinotorishima, and a ship-based helicopter flew extremely close to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer on two occasions.

The Chinese Navy's activities are considered to be part of its "anti-access strategy" to hamper the engagement of the U.S. military in regional conflicts, such as an emergency involving China and Taiwan. The United States, as a result, is increasingly vigilant toward Chinese naval moves.


China's expanding 'core'

China has begun to apply the expression "core interests," which it has used regarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity concerning Taiwan, to the South China Sea as well. A similar phrase is certain to be used in the future to describe China's efforts to secure its maritime interests in the East China Sea.

How should Japan deal with such Chinese moves?

First and foremost, Japan must reconstruct a system in which the Japan-U.S. alliance can function properly. It is essential to restore the relationship of trust with Washington, which has been damaged by the immature diplomacy of the Democratic Party of Japan-led government.

The peacetime warning and surveillance activities of the Self-Defense Forces must be bolstered. Such efforts are intended to strengthen "active deterrence" through troop operations, as opposed to "passive deterrence" through only the possession of military units and equipment.

For this reason, it is problematic that Japan's defense spending has declined 5 percent in the past decade. China's military expenditures approximately quadrupled during the same period, and those of the United States and South Korea more than doubled.

It is also important to make efforts--through defense exchange programs and security dialogue--to have Beijing enhance the transparency of its military spending and activities, and comply with international rules.


No concrete results

Recent years saw progress in exchanging visits by defense ministers, officers and warships between Japan and China. But those activities did not bring about such concrete results as the establishment of a mechanism for maritime communications to prevent accidents and joint training for search and rescue operations.

The defense white paper was supposed to be released in late July, as usual. But publication was postponed until last week on the pretext of adding the moves of the United Nations concerning the sinking of a South Korean warship.

But the additional portion accounts for a mere one paragraph in the main text and a sidebar. The real reason for the postponement was obviously excessive consideration to South Korea ahead of the 100th anniversary of Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula in August.

The government should avoid such a poor approach based on a principle of peace at any price.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2010)
(2010年9月12日01時08分  読売新聞)


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