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2013年7月11日 (木)

防衛白書 中国の「危険行動」を抑止せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 11, 2013
Dangerous military actions of China, North Korea must be contained
防衛白書 中国の「危険行動」を抑止せよ(7月10日付・読売社説)

The need to maintain a guard against provocative acts by China and North Korea has become more acute, and efforts must be increased to deter such conduct.

This year’s white paper on national defense mentions the actions China has taken with regard to its territorial and maritime interests. “China has attempted to change the status quo by force based on its own assertion which is incompatible with the existing order of international law,” according to the paper titled “Defense of Japan 2013.” The white paper adds, “The attempts have been criticized as assertive.”

The white paper’s language is intended to reproach China for its repeated incursions into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, while also censuring that country over its discord with neighboring countries that have stakes in the South China Sea.

Harsher language justified

The paper also refers to a dispute that arose when Chinese vessels were found to have directed fire-control radar at a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer and a helicopter in January. Calling that conduct “dangerous actions” that could cause an emergency, it criticized China for denying use of fire-control radar and providing false explanations about the incident.

The white paper is correct in using harsher language to denounce China’s provocative behavior. Beijing’s self-righteous show of force cannot be overlooked. Japan should cooperate with the United States and other nations in pressing China to abide by international rules.

The document expresses concern about China’s rapid military buildup in recent years, as demonstrated by that country’s commissioning of the Liaoning aircraft carrier and its development of the J-15 carrier-based fighter jet and next-generation J-20 stealth aircraft. The paper also has raised questions about the decline in transparency concerning China’s military. It also states that China’s defense white paper, published in April, did not include any reference to a military budget.

Japan should insist that China increase its military transparency, while also facilitating confidence-building measures between Self-Defense Forces units and their Chinese counterparts through defense exchanges.

Regarding North Korea’s nuclear threat, the white paper says it is likely Pyongyang “has already made considerable progress in its nuclear weapons program” through the nuclear test it conducted in February. The paper concludes that the North Korean threat “simply cannot be tolerated.”

The paper also mentions North Korea’s ballistic missile launch in December. It acknowledges that North Korea has significantly improved its technology to extend the range and the accuracy of ballistic missiles, saying its long-range missiles could reach significant portions of the continental United States.

Getting China and North Korea to restrain their dangerous military actions requires not only increased diplomatic efforts to promote multilevel dialogue aimed at easing tensions. It is also essential for Japan to improve its military power to offset the threat these nations present.

Better protection needed

In recent years, the SDF and U.S. forces have increased their joint exercises and warning and surveillance activities to promote what is called “dynamic defense cooperation,” a task mainly aimed at improving their quick reaction capability.

It is also necessary to ensure that isolated islands in Okinawa Prefecture receive better protection, now that MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft have been deployed at the prefecture’s Futenma Air Station.

Another essential task facing our nation is to expand the number of SDF personnel and equipment in answer to China’s medium- and long-term military buildup. In the current fiscal budget, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has increased defense spending for the first time in 11 years--but by a meager 35.1 billion yen, or a 0.8 percent rise.

China’s defense expenditures have sharply increased. In statistics published by the Chinese government, the growth marks nearly a fourfold rise in the past 10 years and more than a 33-fold increase in 25 years. As circumstances stand today, the figure is about double Japan’s defense spending. If the increase goes unchecked, however, the disparity will likely widen to a more than fivefold gap 10 years from now. The situation is extremely serious.

Japan needs to increase its defense spending from now on.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 10, 2013)
(2013年7月10日01時52分  読売新聞)


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