Beijing slams Japanese defence review

Beijing, July 22

China reserves the right to a “necessary reaction” after Japan issued a defence review that called on Beijing to stop building oil and gas exploration platforms close to disputed waters in the East China Sea, the Defence Ministry has said.

In the paper issued on Tuesday, Tokyo expressed concern that Chinese drills could tap reservoirs that extend into Japan’s waters. “This kind of action completely lays bare the two-faced nature of Japan’s foreign policy and has a detrimental impact on peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region,” China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement issued late yesterday.

China would further evaluate Japan’s defence review, or white paper, when the full text is issued and would then make a “necessary reaction depending on the situation”, it said. In an escalation of the spat, Japan released aerial photos of China’s construction activities in the area, accusing Beijing of unilateral development and a half-hearted attitude towards a 2008 agreement to jointly develop resources there.

“China’s development activities in the East China Sea have shown no signs of ceasing. Given rising concerns within and outside of Japan over China’s various attempts to change the status quo, we have decided to release what can be released in an appropriate manner,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference.

China has built 12 structures since June 2013 when its construction activities picked up pace, Suga added. But Suga said the dispute would have no impact on Sino-Japanese ties, which have thawed a little since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Chinese President Xi Jinping last November.

Beijing described Japan’s annual defence review as misleading and malicious, saying it overplayed the “China military threat” and stoked tensions between the two East Asian powers.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the review ignored that China’s maritime activities were carried out in line with international law, according to a statement posted yesterday.