China’s growing threat

The following editorial appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan).

Chinese President Xi Jinping's strategy to bolster his nation's military strength, which is aimed at expanding China's military influence over the East and South China seas and the Western Pacific, and eliminating the influence of the U.S. military, contributes only to undermining regional stability.

As U.S.-China confrontation has expanded from just trade to the realm of security. China has released a national defense white paper for the first time in four years. The document emphasizes the importance of confronting the United States and justifies China's fast-paced military buildup.

China criticizes the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it has significantly increased its defense expenditures and "undermined global strategic stability." Thus, China has expressed a sense of caution over U.S. moves to augment its alliance with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

China asserts that its artificial islands in the South China Sea and Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are "inalienable parts of Chinese territory" and threatens use of force to achieve complete reunification of Taiwan, saying "we make no promise to renounce the use of force."

The white paper mentions the deployment of new weaponry and equipment, including the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile with a firing range capable of reaching U.S. bases in Guam, domestically produced J-20 state-of-the art stealth fighters, and a 052D-type missile destroyer equipped with a high-performance radar system.

It is obvious that China is seeking to expand the range of its air and naval supremacy from the areas around it to those of the Western Pacific, thereby preventing access and advances by U.S. military forces.

The Chinese military on July 1 launched from its mainland six anti-ship ballistic missiles, which are believed to have been DF21Ds, into the South China Sea. This was likely intended to show off its offensive capabilities from mainland China and thus threaten the U.S. military.

Ensuring the security of sea-lanes is an interest common to Japan and other countries. Dangerous acts that would heighten tensions by impeding free traffic in the South Sea can never be accepted.

It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the white paper also emphasizes promoting security cooperation with Russia. China and Russia may conclude a new agreement on military cooperation, with a view to rattling the situation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japan, for its part, must work toward augmenting its alliance with the United States and its deterrent power.

 

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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