中国国防白書 危険過ぎる習政権の強軍路線

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 23, 2013
Xi administration's 'strong army' policy ramps up Chinese threat
中国国防白書 危険過ぎる習政権の強軍路線(4月22日付・読売社説)

The Chinese administration of Xi Jinping has reiterated its intention to push ahead with a "strong army" policy. This policy centers on building China into a maritime power.

In its biennial defense white paper released last week, Beijing declared: "It is an essential national development strategy to exploit, utilize and protect the seas and oceans, and build China into a maritime power. It is an important duty for the PLA (People's Liberation Army) to resolutely safeguard China's maritime rights and interests."

The white paper also emphasized China has developed a policy of bolstering cooperation between its navy and the State Oceanic Administration's surveillance vessels and others.

Senkakus remark disturbing

The white paper says China's first aircraft carrier, which was commissioned into the navy last year, has a "profound impact on building a strong People's Liberation Army's Navy and safeguarding maritime security."

There is no doubt China will accelerate efforts to augment its naval capabilities through such projects as building new aircraft carriers.

In Japan's eyes, China's expansion of its maritime strength is truly alarming.

What cannot be overlooked is the white paper's reference to the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The report denounces Japan by name for "making trouble over the issue of the Diaoyu Islands," the Chinese name for the Senkakus. It opted not to mention such countries as Vietnam and the Philippines that have their own sovereignty issues with Beijing in the South China Sea.

Singling out Japan for condemnation is presumably designed to beef up China's military pressure with the aim of eroding Japan's effective control of the Senkakus.

The Japanese government naturally lodged a protest with China, saying this country "can never accept any words and deeds based solely on China's own assertions."

Waters surrounding the Senkakus have already seen stepped-up muscle-flexing by Chinese naval vessels. On Wednesday, the day after the white paper was released, a Chinese destroyer and a frigate sailed in the vicinity of the Senkakus.

Fears are rising that provocations involving Chinese naval vessels and surveillance ships could escalate.

Japan, for its part, must increase its vigilance through cooperation with the United States while deepening collaboration between the Japan Coast Guard and the Self-Defense Forces.

Xi, who is general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, has said, "The great dream of the restoration of the nation of China is the dream of a country with a mighty military."

In January, a Chinese frigate locked its weapons-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel. Xi's hard-line posture might invite the Chinese military to take further extreme actions.

On April 9, Xi inspected China's latest amphibious assault ship at a naval base on Hainan Island, southern China, and issued an order to the troops to "take to heart the goal of strengthening the army, and devote efforts to realize this goal." We find this remark deeply disturbing.

Transparency still lacking

China tooted its own horn over the white paper, saying it had disclosed a breakdown of China's ground, naval and air forces. The paper, however, included not one iota of information about personnel in charge of strategic missile operations with nuclear capabilities, or the scale of China's armed police.

The report has far fewer pages than a defense white paper published two years ago. Breakdowns of defense expenditures, such as living expenses of military members and equipment outlays, have been omitted this time.

Although China's swelling defense budget intimidates the international community, the white paper gives no indication that China itself is aware of that.

Instead of concealing information, China has an obligation as a major power to enhance transparency of its military.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2013)
(2013年4月22日01時45分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2013-04-24 08:06 | 英字新聞

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