09/27/2019, 08.54
JAPAN - CHINA
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Tokyo sees Beijing as biggest threat to national security

First time China "conquers" first place in the annual Japanese defense report and pushes North Korea into third position. Russia is fourth. Over the past seven years, Tokyo has increased military spending to counter military progress in Beijing and Pyongyang.

 

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The growth of China's military potential replaces North Korean belligerence as the main threat to Japan's security, according to the Tokyo Defense annual report.  The study says that thius is despite signs that Pyongyang may have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

In the document, published yesterday, the evaluation on Beijing follows a chapter dedicated to Japan's main ally, the United States. It is the first time that Beijing "conquers" second section in the Defense White Paper and pushes North Korea into the third. Russia, considered by Japan as "number one danger" during the Cold War, is now in fourth place.

During a press conference, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono stated that "China is deploying air and sea resources in the western Pacific and across the Tsushima Strait in the Japan Sea more frequently". Over the past seven years, Tokyo has increased military spending by a tenth to counter the military progress in Beijing and Pyongyang. To keep up with the modernization of the Chinese army, Japan is buying American-made stealth fighter planes and other advanced weapons. But this year, Chinese military spending will increase by 7.5% compared to 2018 and will reach about 177 billion US dollars - more than three times the Tokyo budget.

Beijing was once limited to military operations near the Chinese coast; now sends air and sea patrols near the western islands of Okinawa in Japan and in the western Pacific regularly. China has often rejected fears about its military spending and objectives, including the increased presence in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. Beijing claims that it only wants peaceful development. The White Paper on Defense states that Chinese patrols in the waters and in the skies near the Japanese territory are "a concern for national security".

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