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2013年8月25日 (日)

中国海洋強国化 地域の緊張高める覇権主義

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 25, 2013
China’s hegemonic ambition heightening regional tension
中国海洋強国化 地域の緊張高める覇権主義(8月24日付・読売社説)

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which has been stepping up efforts to make the country a great maritime power, seems to have more fully revealed its hard-line stance through a recent statement by the Chinese defense chief in the United States.

In a joint news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel held after their meeting, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan warned that nobody should have the idea that China would ever relinquish its core interests.

This was a peremptory statement, as he clearly had in mind the confrontation with Japan over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture and friction with Vietnam and the Philippines over sovereignty in the South China Sea. Chang went on to say that China’s determination to defend its territory, sovereignty and maritime interests should not be underestimated.

His statement echoes Xi’s remarks at a key conference in late July that “core interests cannot be sacrificed” and his resolve to build a “strong maritime state.”

Chang’s warning could be intended as a check on the Asia-focused military strategy of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. It was also likely meant to put pressure on Japan prior to the first anniversary of the Japanese government’s nationalization of the Senkakus in September.

On Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Chinese military conducted live-fire drills and other training with the aircraft carrier Liaoning. These might be intended as threats to Japan.

Xi has said that China will never seek to reign supreme. But backed by its strong military power, China has been trying to forcibly impound the sea, a common resource, thereby achieving hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

Accidental clashes feared

In light of the January incident in which Chinese Navy ships locked weapons-targeting radar onto a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel near the Senkakus, the Xi administration’s hard-line stance may provoke Chinese troops to engage in radical and provocative actions in the field.

Japan must tighten its guard around the Senkakus.

To prevent accidental military clashes involving ships and aircraft, it is necessary to accelerate the building of a “maritime communications mechanism” between Japanese and Chinese military authorties. The Xi administration must proceed with talks on the matter as long as it claims to seek “peaceful development.”

The situation is no less serious in the South China Sea. China last year took control of the Scarborough Shoal, over which the Philippines also claims sovereignty, and has its government ships patrol around the shoal.

The United States and the Philippines entered into negotiations in the middle of this month to conclude a new agreement that would increase the frequency and expand the scale of U.S. military patrols. This is a concrete step to push the new Asia-centered U.S. strategy and a laudable strengthening of deterrence against China.

Japan will provide 10 patrol boats to the Philippines. These ships will help improve the country’s maritime security capabilities. Cooperation must also be deepened in terms of personnel development.

It is crucial for Japan to emphasize the unjustness of China’s provocations in international forums, including the expanded defense ministerial conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to be held later this month.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 24, 2013)
(2013年8月24日01時11分  読売新聞)


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