Japan defense chief & U.S. commander share concerns over China's maritime activities

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and U.S. military's top general Kevin Schneider expressed concerns over China's expanding maritime activities in the East and South China Sea in the recent meeting.
October 09, 2020 | 14:27
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Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and US Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider. (Photo: Kyodo News)

Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi statement in his visit to the US

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said he and the U.S. military's top general stationed in the country met Thursday and shared concerns over China's expanding maritime activities in the East and South China seas, Kyodo News cited.

"During the discussion, the two reiterated the critical importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance to maintaining peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region," U.S. Forces Japan said in a statement. "The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together bilaterally to address common security threats."

Kishi and Schneider also reaffirmed that the ongoing project to transfer the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the southern island prefecture of Okinawa is "the only solution" to address safety issues posed by the base, which is located in a residential area, without undermining the deterrence provided by the Japan-U.S. security alliance.

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Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi. (Photo: Kyodo)

Japan's expert: The best policy is "to keep a safe distance" from China

Meanwhile, a conservative Japanese politician on Thursday separately said that Japanese parliamentarians were working to set up a security cooperation forum with their US and Taiwanese counterparts to restrain China, South China Morning Post reported.

“It is important for like-minded countries to join hands and curb China,” Keiji Furuya, head of the Japan-ROC Diet Members’ Consultative Council told reporters. Furuya said while Japan and China needed each other economically and had signed trade deals to advance economic ties, “we don’t see China as a friendly ally”. The best policy when dealing with a country that does not obey international rules is “to keep a safe distance”, he said.

Furuya said he planned to use Japan’s Pacific island summit next year to let the participating countries understand the importance of maintaining official relations with Taiwan and warn against China’s so-called “debt-trap diplomacy” that ensnares recipient countries with loans they cannot repay.

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The US Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo. (Photo: Reuters)

China's expanding maritime activities on different sea regions

China began five military exercises simultaneously along different parts of its coast in late September, the second time in two months that it had such concurrent drills. Two of the exercises are being held near the Paracel Islands, one in the East China Sea, and one in further north in the Bohai Sea, the Maritime Safety Administration said in notices on its website.

In August, China announced four separate exercises, from the Bohai Sea to the East and Yellow Seas and down to the South China Sea, in what Chinese military experts said was a rare arrangement of drills.

Among those, drills on the Paracel Islands from August 24 to 29 received Vietnam's protests of "violates Vietnam's sovereignty over the islands, goes against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and is not conducive for negotiations related to the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC), as well as the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation across the waters," VN Express stated.

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Valerie Mai
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