By Cal Widdall
Japan has released a defensive white paper which criticises the Chinese military’s lack of transparency and describes Beijing’s response to disputes with neighbours as ‘assertive’. The Chinese foreign ministry has dismissed these claims as ‘groundless’ and ‘irresponsible’. Cue belligerent arguing from both sides over who is the most peaceful nation.
The Defence of Japan 2012 report focuses on a possible future conflict with China, emphasising the strategic importance of Okinawa and the American military presence there. The two main reasons given for this are China’s increased assertiveness in the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (an issue which warrants military action against Japan, if necessary, according to 91% of Chinese people polled) and the increasingly vocal nature of senior Chinese military officials (leading to questions regarding the shrouded relationship between the Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army).
Louis Vuitton Daily China Daily editorial calls the use of the ‘China threat’ theory as justification for military build-up a ‘ruse’ before going on, somewhat hypocritically, to state:
“As a country with a vast territory and long coastlines, China is fully justified in enhancing its military capabilities. Because of the complicated environment China faces today, it is important that the Chinese military, the navy included, is able to respond timely and effectively to potential threats to its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”
Replace the word China with Japan, and apart from the ‘vast territory’ you’re left with the same justification of arms build-up the editorial is supposed to be criticising.
We suppose the grass is always more pointy and aggressive on the other side.