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2014年6月14日 (土)

中国の軍事挑発 「有事準備」に警戒が怠れない

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Beware China’s military provocations in its ‘preparation for potential conflict’
中国の軍事挑発 「有事準備」に警戒が怠れない

China has been proceeding with its maritime expansion through force of arms, intensifying its provocative actions toward neighboring countries in an alarming manner. Japan must bolster its vigilance against Beijing in cooperation with other nations concerned.

On Wednesday, two Chinese fighter jets flew extraordinarily close to two Self-Defense Forces planes over international waters in the East China Sea, one coming as close as 30 meters to an SDF aircraft. This was an extremely dangerous act that could have led to an unintended midair collision.

A similar incident took place in late May, over which the Japanese government filed a protest with China. The recurrence of an encounter involving planes, caused by China’s reckless show of force, signifies an even graver situation than before. It is certainly reasonable that Tokyo has lodged a stringent protest with Beijing over the latest incident.

Although China has claimed that the SDF planes approached the Chinese military aircraft, this argument flies in the face of the facts. Beijing is believed to have caused the incidents with the aim of making its unilateral establishment last November of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea a fait accompli.

China’s menacing acts have also been continuing in the South China Sea. These attempts to expand Chinese maritime interests through force must not be tolerated.

An annual report recently released by the U.S. Defense Department on China’s military strength notes the modernization of its military, saying that China has placed its principal focus on attaining the capability to fight and win in preparation for “potential regional conflicts, including those related to Taiwan...[and] defense of territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea.”

As specific examples of China’s modernization of equipment under the presumption of maritime military clashes, the Pentagon report says China is expected to launch its first domestically built aircraft carrier in the early 2020s, while drastically strengthening its fleets of new lightweight warships.

Multilayered ties essential

Amphibious assault landing vessels that China will build around 2020 will be able to be used to attack and seize remote islands, according to the Pentagon report. The commissioning of such vessels will certainly become a cause for concern for Japan and other countries near China.

The report has emphasized that China’s air force “is pursuing modernization on a scale unprecedented in its history.” This move is believed to be aimed at achieving Chinese air supremacy over the seas. In addition, China has planned to have unmanned surveillance aircraft cruise over the East China Sea and is in the process of developing unmanned aircraft that would be capable of being armed, the report says.

Refuting the Pentagon report, the Chinese government claims the United States has been exaggerating the Chinese military threat.

If so, however, China must enhance the transparency of its defense budget and equipment, while stopping dangerous acts of provocation toward neighboring countries.

To enhance regional peace and stability, it is imperative for countries with alliances and friendly ties with Japan and the United States to establish multilayered relations of cooperation in both the military and diplomatic spheres, to strengthen deterrence toward China.

This nation should first allow the exercise of its right to collective self-defense, to bolster the Japan-U.S. alliance. As shown by a meeting on Wednesday in Tokyo of the foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia, it will also be effective for countries with common interests to expand their security cooperation through such efforts as joint development of defense equipment and joint military drills.

To keep China’s self-righteous behavior in check, both Japan and the United States should boost their cooperation with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and European Union countries, thereby playing a leading role in crafting rules to govern the international community and spread the rule of law in international relations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 13, 2014)


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