Tokyo is 'demonizing' China's sea activities to contain it
Japan is trying to distract attention away from disputes in the East China Sea by creating tensions in the South China Sea, experts said, after Japanese media reported the country will express its caution in a defense white paper over China's muscle-flexing activities in the South China Sea.
Kyodo News Agency reported on Thursday the outline of Japan's 2016 defense white paper says "China's activities in the South China Sea could be called high-handed, unilateral action to change the status quo" and warns that "China's militarization of the disputed waters is making its territorial claims a fait accompli."
The Japanese defense ministry will release the white paper in August, but did not confirm that the outline was authentic, a ministry official told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that the ministry denied leaking the outline to the press.
"Japan has demonized China's normal activities in the South China Sea, making the world believe that China is changing the status quo with military forces in a bid to contain China," Lü Yaodong, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times Thursday.
Wang Ping, a research fellow at CASS Institute of Japanese Studies, stressed that China seeks a peaceful way to solve its territorial disputes with neighboring countries, adding that China's military development is based on its economic strength.
The outline states that China's activities are intensifying near the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, noting that a Chinese navy ship in June sailed in a contiguous zone just outside territorial waters around the islands, and it says the number of times that Chinese aircraft approached its airspace has risen sharply in recent years, Kyodo News reported.
The outline explains that the paper will devote a new chapter to the country's new security legislation, which took effect in March, and adds that the legislation will receive a "high evaluation and support from the international community."
"Japan's goal is to distract from the pressures in the East China Sea where it has territorial disputes with China by creating tensions in the South China Sea," Wang said.
Wang added that Japan was also using China as an imaginary enemy to destroy the pacifist constitution.
The outline also criticizes North Korea's repeated provocative actions, including its test in January of a nuclear device. It reiterates Japan's assertion that there is a possibility Pyongyang may have succeeded in miniaturizing warheads for nuclear weapons.
"The U.S. and Japan are the ones who should be blamed for the deteriorating security environment in Asia-Pacific region. They blame China for disturbing the balance in the region, and the U.S. wants to safeguard its forces in Japan and strengthen its interests in the region," said Lü.