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Aero India 2023

Japan wary of China's growing military clout

Japan has expressed concern over China's increased naval presence near its shores.

TOKYO (AFP): Japan has voiced concern over China's growing military muscle in a defence paper, as a row with Beijing continued over the arrest of a Chinese trawler captain in disputed waters.

In its annual Defence of Japan report released on Friday, Tokyo pointed to increased Chinese naval activities near its shores, including tense incidents this year in which Chinese helicopters staged close fly-bys of Japanese warships.

As it has in past years, the defence ministry report, approved by Prime Minister Naoto Kan's cabinet, urged Beijing to be clearer about its military spending, including on its blue-water fleet.

"China has been intensifying its maritime activities, including those in waters near Japan," the document said, adding that Beijing had failed to "disclose a clear, specific future vision of its military modernisation".

"The lack of transparency of its national defence policies and the military activities are a matter of concern for the region and the international community, including Japan, which require prudent analysis," it said.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters that China's military strength has significantly changed from last year through this year.

"It is the reality. By clearly writing that...I think we were able to firmly express our current understanding," he said.

The report came amid growing concern in the region over China's increased assertiveness in claiming maritime territories, including in the South China Sea, where it has competing claims with Vietnam and other countries.

A Pentagon report last month said China was ramping up investment in nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers and cyber warfare, and building up a force that could strike as far as the US territory of Guam.

In March, China said it was raising its defence budget by 7.5 per cent to 532.1 billion yuan – $ 77.9 billion at the exchange rate of the time.

The Pentagon paper estimated China's overall military-related spending was more than 150 billion dollars in 2009, with areas included that did not figure in the publicly released budget.

Japan's report was released in a week when Beijing and Tokyo both issued diplomatic protests in a war of words over Japan's arrest Wednesday of a Chinese skipper whose boat collided with two Japan Coast Guard vessels.

The incident took place near an uninhabited island chain in the East China Sea – a string of rocky outcrops known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China – which lie in rich fishing ground.


Japan  defence  

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Brahmand World Defence Update 2023

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