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People's Daily Online

Seoul, Beijing blast Japan's defense paper as Tokyo seeks stronger military role in Asia-Pacific

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 19:47, August 04, 2016

BEIJING/SEOUL, Aug. 4 -- South Koreahas joined China in opposing Japan's 2016 defense white paper, a policy document Tokyo is using to justify its efforts to move away from an isolated and pacifistic defense posture to a more active one.


South Korea on Tuesday lodged a strong protest against Japan's repeated territorial claims on its easternmost islets, called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, lying halfway between the two countries.

Seoul's Defense Ministry called in a defense attache from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to protest against the white paper, in which the islets are described as Japan's territory.

It marked the 12th consecutive year since 2005 that Japan has claimed sovereignty over the islets in the annual paper.

The ministry expressed deep regrets over the Japanese government in its protest letter, delivered to the summoned attache, saying Japan must immediately stop making useless claims, squarely face history and make efforts to open a new future for relations between South Korea and Japan.

The protest letter said that South Korea's military will take strong actions against any Japanese attempt to damage South Korea's sovereignty over the Dokdo islets.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry also summoned an official from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, lodging an official protest against the annual white paper.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that South Korea strongly protests against Japan's unjust territorial claims on the Dokdo islets, which it said are its indigenous territory historically, geographically and according to international laws.

The statement called on Japan to squarely face historical facts and immediately stop making groundless claims, saying Japan must make efforts to move toward a new future for South Korea-Japan relations based on trust.


In the 480-page white paper, Japan devoted some 30 pages to making irresponsible remarks on China's national defense and its normal and legal maritime activities in the East and South China Seas.

Analysts believed that by playing up the so-called "China threat," the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abeis attempting to make excuses for amending the postwar pacifist constitution and building up Japan's military.

On Wednesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said China is "strongly dissatisfied" with the paper's groundless accusations against China's defense development and military activities.

In a statement, spokesperson Hua Chunying said China has made solemn representations to Japan over the irresponsible white paper.

Japan has no right to make disparaging comments on China's legitimate activities near the Diaoyu Islands, Hua said, stressing that China's determination to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is "unshakable."

She said that China's navy and air force activities are in line with international law, domestic law as well as national defense needs.

China will not accept the "award" of the South China Sea arbitration initiated unilaterally by the Philippines, said Hua, adding that China will continue to strive for the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiations between countries directly concerned on the basis of respect for historical facts.

The spokesperson blamed Japan for fabricating excuses for its military expansion and stirring up enmity on regional security issues.

She urged Japan to learn from history, stick to a peaceful development path, act prudently in military matters and regain the trust of its neighbors instead of undermining regional stability.


The paper was the first of its kind issued after Japan's controversial new security laws came into effect earlier this year.

Wang Xingyu, a researcher with China's Renmin University, said that this year's white paper highlights the importance and legitimacy of the security bills, and urges Japan to maintain its advantage in defense technologies over its neighbors.

He said hyping up the so-called China threat is also part of Tokyo's agenda to justify the security laws that allow Japan to exercise collective self-defense rights.

Since Abe became prime minister in 2012, his cabinet has been dedicated to a shift in the country's exclusively defense-oriented policy and to a revision of the constitution.

To win popular support, the Japanese government has chosen to instigate a sense of crisis among its people by presenting China as a threat to regional peace and stability, he said.

Analysts believed that if Tokyo puts into practice what is in the paper, then both its relations with China and the security in the Asia-Pacific will take a big hit.

Wang said Japan, by stirring up China's maritime disputes with other countries in the South China Sea, is trying to team up with those claimant countries against China.

This would deepen distrust between the two Asian nations, and render their ties more contentious, he said.

Also in the paper, Japan stressed the necessity of enhancing the alliance between Tokyo and Washington, as well as its autonomy in the partnership, and entertained the feasibility of conducting multilateral security cooperation with the United States, Australia and India in the area that covers the Indian and the Pacific Oceans.

Wang said that by doing so, Japan wants to strengthen its military clout in the region, yet that would further complicate the security situation in the area.

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