Beijing issues strong protest against Japan's new defense statement

BEIJING, July 21 -- China on Tuesday voiced strong discontent and firm opposition over Japan's annual defense white paper, saying the paper deliberately plays up the so-called "China military threat".

The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday approved the defense white paper for 2015, in which it launched multiple accusations against China.

In the opening of the 400-plus page document, Japan describes the security environment surrounding the country as having become increasingly severe, highlighting China's supposed military build-up, and activities by China in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

In response to Japan's criticism, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said the new defense white paper of Japan once again ignores facts, makes irresponsible remarks on China's normal military growth and maritime activities, deliberately plays up the "China threat" and stirs up tensions.

In a press release, Lu stressed that China is committed to a path of peaceful development and national defense policy that is defensive in nature.

China's strategic intentions are transparent, he said, noting China's development of defense capacity is justified and poses no threat to any other country.

He said China is devoted to promoting China-Japan friendship and developing bilateral ties based on the four political documents signed by China and Japan.

He urged Japan to stop misleading the Japanese people or installing barriers for the improvement of bilateral ties.

China always carries out normal maritime activities following international laws and relevant domestic laws, said Lu, adding China's oil and gas exploration in undisputed waters of the East China Sea under China's jurisdiction is "justified, reasonable and legitimate".

He said China's construction on some garrisoned Nansha islands and reefs, which does not affect or target any other country, is fully within China's sovereignty and beyond reproach.

"Japan's actions of deliberately intervening in the South China Sea issue and playing up regional tensions run counter to regional peace and stability, and severely undermine the political and security mutual trust between China and Japan," said the spokesperson.

Noting the Diaoyu Islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times, Lu reaffirmed that China's patrolling and law enforcement activities in Chinese territorial waters off the Diaoyu Islands is China's inherent right to lawfully exercise sovereignty.

"China will continue to take necessary measures and stay firm in safeguarding territorial sovereignty," he said, saying Japan should not have any illusions about this.

He also stressed that China stands for the proper settlement of this issue through dialogue and consultation.

It meets the trend of the times and aspirations of the people to maintain peace and stability of this region and beyond, he said.

The recent unprecedented moves Japan has made in military and security fields since the WWII and its negative tendencies on historical issues have invited worries and objection from people of all countries in this region, including Japan, he noted.

"We solemnly urge Japan to stop causing tensions or provoking conflicts, and do more to contribute to regional peace and stability," said Lu.

On Tuesday, China's Defense Ministry also expressed strong dissatisfaction over Japan's new defense white paper.

Enhancing the modernization of national defense and the armed forces is a legitimate right of China as a sovereign state, said a press release by the defense ministry.

The Chinese army is firmly determined to safeguard national territorial sovereignty as well as maritime rights and interests, it said, adding China will continue to carry out normal activities in relevant waters and airspace within its sovereignty.

Japan, on the one hand, declared that it pursues a path of peaceful development, but on the other hand, it seeks to adopt a new package of security bills that will enable Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to engage in armed conflicts overseas and help defend others even if Japan is not attacked, it said.

The two-sidedness of Japan's foreign policy will cause an adverse impact on the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, said the press release.

"We will further evaluate the white paper when the Japanese side issues its full text and make necessary reaction depending on the situation," said the defense ministry.



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