Sunday, October 27, 2013

Japan's PM warns China on use of force as jets scrambled

Japan's PM warns China on use of force as jets scrambled

Sunday October 27th 2013 .... 6.05pm
13 hours ago

Tokyo (AFP) - Japan's leader warned China on Sunday against forcibly changing the regional balance of power, as reports said Tokyo had scrambled fighter jets in response to Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa.

Verbal skirmishing between Asia's two biggest economies, who dispute ownership of an island chain, escalated as Beijing warned Tokyo that any hostile action in the skies against Chinese drones would be construed as an "act of war".

"We will express our intention as a state not to tolerate a change in the status quo by force. We must conduct all sorts of activities such as surveillance and intelligence for that purpose," Abe said in an address to the military.

"The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe. This is the reality," he said. "You will have to completely rid yourselves of the conventional notion that just the existence of a defence force could act as a deterrent."

Abe presided over an inspection of the military at which a US amphibious assault vehicle was displayed for the first time, an apparent sign of Japan's intention to strengthen its ability to protect remote islands.

The defence ministry plans to create a special amphibious unit to protect the southern islands and retake them in case of an invasion.

"There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law," Abe earlier told the Wall Street Journal in an interview following a series of summits this month with regional leaders.

"But if China opts to take that path, then it won't be able to emerge peacefully," he said in the interview published Saturday.

"So it shouldn't take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community," Abe added.

On Sunday Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported that Japan had deployed jets for two days running in response to four Chinese military aircraft flying over international waters near the Okinawa island chain.

Two Y8 early-warning aircraft and two H6 bombers flew from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean and back again but did not violate Japan's airspace, the reports said.

The Japanese defence ministry was not immediately available for confirmation.

Japan's military is on increased alert as Tokyo and Beijing pursue a war of words over the disputed islands in the East China Sea that lie between Okinawa and Taiwan.

On Saturday China responded angrily after a report said Japan had drafted plans to shoot down foreign drones that encroach on its airspace if warnings to leave are ignored.

Tokyo drew up the proposals after a Chinese military drone entered Japan's air defence identification zone near the disputed islands in the East China Sea last month, Kyodo said.

"We would advise relevant parties not to underestimate the Chinese military's staunch resolve to safeguard China's national territorial sovereignty," China's defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in comments posted on the ministry's website.

"If Japan takes enforcement measures such as shooting down aircraft, as it says it will, that would constitute a serious provocation, an act of war of sorts, and we would have to take firm countermeasures, and all consequences would be the responsibility of the side that caused the provocation."

Tokyo and Beijing both claim the small uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Japan administers them and calls them the Senkakus. China refers to the islands as the Diaoyus.

One of Abe's first decisions as prime minister was to increase the defence budget for the first time in 11 years.

Tokyo also plans to hold a major air and sea exercise next month to bolster its ability to protect its remote islands.

In the Wall Street Journal interview, Abe said Japan had become too inward-looking over the past 15 years, but as it regains economic strength "we'd like to contribute more to making the world a better place".

The Journal said he made it clear that one way Japan would "contribute" would be countering China in Asia.

View Comments (1217)

Philadelphian 21 minutes ago
People continue to fail to realize how outsourcing jobs to China has not only hurt the average US citizen, but has helped China's economy drastically. China has spent a good portion of it's economic growth on its military. It has been argued that China needs the American consumer to maintain it's economic growth. This might be true in the short run but is overemphasized.

It's no secret why the debt ceiling, that means borrowing from countries like China, continues to go up. Americans aren't spending what they used to because their wages are either non-existent or drastically lower than before. This is a byproduct of outsourcing and illegal immigration.

Today, more spending is dictated by people getting some type of public assistance that lowers our tax revenue necessitating us to borrow even more money. At some point the government will no longer be able to raise the debt ceiling resulting in less dollars to give to its citizens that will result in even less spending on goods and services. At that time, China will no longer need the US consumer and we will surely become a third world country.

James C. 4 hours ago
I'm thinking of all the irony here. We actually helped Japan build a war machine, that we then had to defeat in world war two. We now make China one of the largest economies in the world, and there has been releases the Chinese are also building a stronger military. We always considered Communism to be a threat to this country. Japan is now an ally. We helped China in world war two. Remember the Flying Tigers? It leaves you dizzy trying to figure out what is really going on. But one thing is certain, both these countries have an economic interest in this country, and possibly too much influence. What is our real interest?
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Veni 3 hours ago
But Japan refuses to sit down with China to negotiate on the status of the disputed islands. They insist there is no dispute! Ha! Talking about keeping their head in the sands.
wow, I thought they couldn't fly the rising sun flag as it represents its imperialist days. " Abe said Japan had become too inward-looking over the past 15 years" - Abe is already implying going back to its imperialist days. interesting. we have bases in japan, okinawa still don't we? china HAS been flexing its muscle in the pacific rim and the issue of who the small islands belong to had been festering so this was not unexpected. what's interesting is the degree of assertiveness exhibited by Abe.

nondescript 3 hours ago
it's all about control, it's only about control, and with the rapid decline of the United States in all important control respects the resulting leadership void offers prime opportunity for exploitation by virtually any second rate power.... something one has to expect. Presented with a rare bonus situation, guaranteeing a minimum of three more years of additional vacuum, to borrow the old blacksmith adage, they intend to "strike while the iron is hot". Now is the time to create and consolidate their spoils, they would be complete fools to do otherwise
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Jimmy 6 hours ago
In every war, it's the leader and politicians who sit safely at home and send their young men to die.
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Brian Huang 2 hours ago
I have to say that most of these comments are from irrational idiots venting... China is too smart to start a shooting war with the US especially when they can find a "soft spot" that doesn't involve military action. Who in their right minds wants to take on the US militarily? Secondly, any type of warfare involving China and Japan will shut down all trade coming from Asia, everyone will suffer. Most of all, time is on China's side and all they really have to do is wait until the US cripples themselves like they did during the "debt ceiling negotiations or shutdown"......
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DeHouvres 7 hours ago
Imagine the USA shipping its manufacturing to Russia or borrowing money from Russia during the Cold War. You can't imagine it. But we gave China most of our manufacturing sector and we borrow money from them to bulk up our defenses against a potential Chinese threat. You can't make this stuff up. When the politicians warn me about the threat from China, I tune them out. Their first priority is making money for their campaign contributors. If it naturally weakens our defenses so they can ask for more military spending to help more of their campaign contributors, so much the better. Sleazebags all of them. It's why this country is the decline.
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mihai b 4 hours ago
As an outsider I would say that it will be Very, Very childish, to possibly start the 3 rd World War for some islands.
China you Are Better then this !!! Japan is just Tiny comparing to China . But is much loved by the us the Europeans !!!
Instead of arguing for some land and spend more money for defense, let's find the cure for cancer, or find the next habitable planet and that is worth dying for!!!!

Please let's act as we're in 2013 not 1914 !!!!
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Geology Rocks 27 minutes ago
It's so easy to sound tough to the Chinese when Japan depends of the US for protection.

no BO 17 minutes ago
I hope Japan doesn't count on Obama to help in any way!

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