Japan and China spar over Beijing’s actions in the Indo-Pacific: report

BeijingChina disputes Japan’s recent assessment of the threat Beijing poses to the Indo-Pacific region, dismissing it as a staged threat and a false accusation, Voice of America reported.

According to Japanese media reports and the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s annual Diplomatic Bluebook (an annual report on Japan’s foreign policy and international diplomacy published by the Japanese Foreign Ministry), published on Tuesday, the military activities described as China’s “greatest strategic challenge”. .”

However, according to Voice of America, no official English version of the report has been made public.

The Bluebook reportedly criticizes China’s actions in the South China Sea and its attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas.

Following this, Japanese media say Japan is seeking to build “a mutually beneficial relationship” with China “based on common strategic interests” for the first time since 2019.

According to Voice of America, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian rejected Japan’s criticism during a news briefing on Tuesday. Lin stated: “Japan has resorted to the same old false accusations against China and the hype of the ‘China threat’ in its 2024 diplomatic blue book.”

He further affirmed: “We urge Japan to change its wrong course, stop fomenting bloc confrontations, make real efforts to promote a strategic relationship of mutual benefit with China and work to build a constructive and stable relationship between China and Japan that is fit for the future. new Age.”

Director of the Japan Program at the Washington-based Stimson Center, Yuki Tatsumi, said: “Japan’s concerns about Chinese behavior, both military and paramilitary, have increased in recent years due to the acceleration of Beijing’s aggressive behavior in the East and the Middle East. South Chinese Ocean.”

“In addition, Tokyo has become alert to Beijing’s increasingly hostile and aggressive rhetoric and behavior toward Taiwan.” she added.

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin could meet in Hawaii in early May, according to a Thursday report from The Japan Times citing unnamed Japanese officials.

According to the report, Kihara and Austin would discuss setting up a proposed allied command and control structure and a body to identify the types of weapons the two countries will jointly develop and produce.

These plans were announced on April 10 during a bilateral summit in Washington.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) announced on Tuesday that it will conduct a naval deployment starting May 3, including six surface ships, submarines and two air units, in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The deployment includes visits to more than a dozen countries, including the US, Philippines, India, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Marshall Islands, Fiji and Palau. It is intended “to strengthen cooperation with allied partner navies by conducting exercises,” JMSDF said.

Daniel Sneider, a lecturer in international policy and East Asian studies at Stanford University, said that even as Tokyo builds up its defenses and worries about Beijing’s assertiveness and especially its relations with Moscow, the Diplomatic Blue Book’s mention of wanting to build relations with Beijing reflects Tokyo’s balanced approach towards China.

“The Blue Book reflects a balance between, on the one hand, providing a degree of warning to the Chinese against doing things to disrupt order in the region and, on the other hand, making it clear that Japan is really not interested in any form of large-scale confrontation with China,” including economic warfare, Sneider said.

As for China, it tends to view “any attempt on the part of the Koreans and the Japanese to establish and improve relations as a sign of weakness,” Sneider continued.

China, Japan and South Korea plan to hold trilateral talks in May for the first time since 2019. They will meet in Seoul ahead of the Washington-Seoul-Tokyo trilateral summit expected in July. (ANI)

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