Tag Archives: Japan

China urges Japan to keep South China Sea row off G-7 agenda: sources

China has pressed Japan not to broach Beijing’s disputes with regional neighbors in the South China Sea at the upcoming Group of Seven summit to be held in Japan in May, arguing that touching on the issue would hamper efforts to improve bilateral relations, diplomatic sources said Saturday. China pressed the point to Japan at a vice foreign ministerial gathering held in Tokyo in late February, according to the sources. But Japan rebuffed the Chinese demand, saying the international community cannot accept China’s building of artificial islands in the sea and their militarization, they said. China is embroiled in overlapping territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea with Taiwan and four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to clearly state the importance of the rule of law in the G-7 leaders’ declaration after securing unity over the South China Sea issue at the G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting that will take place in Hiroshima in April. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/03/20/national/politics-diplomacy/china-urges-japan-keep-south-china-sea-row-off-g-7-agenda-sources/

Japan ‘regrowing’ tiny island in territorial challenge to China

KUMEJIMA (Okinawa) • Japan is growing an island in a bathtub as part of a struggle with China for control of Asia’s oceans, reported the Financial Times. The island is called Okinotorishima, or “distant bird island”; a remote, storm-wracked coral atoll 1,700km south-west of Tokyo in the Philippine Sea, where two small outcrops protrude at high tide, FT said. Japan regards the atoll as its southernmost point; China says it is merely a rock and hence not entitled to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Now Okinotorishima is dying and threatening Japan’s claim. Climate change is raising the sea level and killing the coral that grew on top and kept the atoll’s head above water. Typhoons bite at what remains. Japan is therefore on a desperate quest to regrow the reef, FT said in a report last weekend. The results will decide the fate of a strategic redoubt, with legal repercussions in the South China Sea, it said. Japanese authorities have brought coral from Okinotorishima to the Deep Seawater Research Institute on the island of Kumejima and harvested eggs. They will grow the baby corals in a bathtub in a greenhouse at the facility for a year, then transplant them back to the atoll. Read more: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/japan-regrowing-tiny-island-in-territorial-challenge-to-china

South China Sea dispute: New China airstrips a potential headache for neighbors, US

BEIJING: China’s campaign of island building in the South China Sea might soon quadruple the number of airstrips available to the People’s Liberation Army in the highly contested and strategically vital region. That could be bad news for other regional contenders, especially the US, the Philippines and Vietnam. The island construction work that is creating vast amounts of new acreage by piling sand on top of coral reefs is now moving into the construction stage, with building .. Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50063145.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

China and Japan threaten world peace over South China Sea dispute; US maintains freedom of navigation

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a U.S.-China business roundtable, comprised of U.S. and Chinese CEOs, in Seattle, Washington September 23, 2015. Reuters/Elaine Thompson/Pool The United States and China have been challenging each other’s claims and moves in the South China Sea. As both countries maintain where they are within their jurisdictions and rights over international waters, close observers believe that the South China Sea dispute will move past beyond the region and threaten overall world peace. The United States maintains its right of “freedom of navigation” when it sent a warship to sail near China’s artificial islands. According to a US Navy spokesman, it is the “most basic right” for any navy across the globe. The US-guided missile destroyer USS Lassen navigated around 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef back in October to challenge Beijing’s claims over freedom of navigation. This prompted strong opposition from China as the country continues to claim sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea region. The same claims have prompted tensions among Southeast Asian nations also voicing claims over the area. “Freedom of navigation is a fundamental tenet of having a global navy,” Korea Herald quoted Cmdr. Ron Flanders, spokesman for the US Naval Forces Japan. “No one should be surprised that the United States Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations in the Western Pacific, South China Sea, Mediterranean, the Baltic. We do it 365 days a year, all over the world,” added the spokesman during a tour of the USS Lassen at the Yokosuka base. China’s activities in the South China Sea, especially its alleged militarisation efforts, have been a point of concern for global leaders. According to Flanders, what the United States did back in October is the right of any navy across the globe. Likewise, it is also a necessary drill to make sure that everyone operates according to international law. Read more: http://www.ibtimes.com.au/china-japan-threaten-world-peace-over-south-china-sea-dispute-us-maintains-freedom-navigation

John Ivison: Tension between China and Japan over islands could threaten world peace

TOKYO – Shinjuku station at rush hour is like a highly organized ant colony, as 3.6-million commuters converge on the world’s busiest transport hub every day. Yet harmony, rather than chaos, reigns in a society that remains a remarkable consensus of politeness, co-operation and affinity. A train that arrives two minutes late is greeted by rail workers bowing from the waist to express their regret. Last week, however, a small explosion at Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine, a controversial war memorial where senior political and military war criminals are buried, offers a reminder that Japanese society is more fractured than it might first appear. No one was injured in the blast, which remains subject to investigation. But the Yasukuni shrine has been a lightning rod for accusations that Japan is embracing its military past ever since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited two years ago. Recent moves by his government to re-interpret the constitution have further aroused fears of a rising nationalism and a return to Japan’s “old path.” In August, 120,000 people protested a new security policy – “proactive pacifism” – that gives Japan the right to send its forces overseas for the first time since the Second World War. And the normally sedate Diet witnessed a brawl between politicians arguing over the legislation. It may be the Yasukuni bombing is another example of the backlash against the Abe agenda. Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conflict-is-inevitable-tension-between-china-and-japan-over-islands-could-threaten-world-peace

China’s ‘historical sovereignty’ over East Vietnam Sea is groundless: US expert

The “historical sovereignty” China claims over the East Vietnam Sea is baseless and thus Beijing should comply with international law, according to a U.S. expert. Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, offered the remark when talking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, rejecting the argument of a Chinese scholar at an international conference on East Vietnam Sea issues that concluded in the southern Vietnamese city of Vung Tau on Tuesday. The Chinese scholar in question is Dr. Nong Hong, director of a research center under an institute for East Vietnam Sea studies in China. In her speech at the event, Dr. Nong said that China’s “historical sovereignty” under the so-called “nine-dash line” is more meaningful in terms of international law than the concept of “exclusive economic zone” adopted by other countries in the East Vietnam Sea. The line was unilaterally proclaimed by China to illegally claim sovereignty over about 80 percent of the East Vietnam Sea, including Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes. Read more: http://tuoitrenews.vn/politics/31860/chinas-historical-sovereignty-over-east-vietnam-sea-is-groundless-us-expert

Park appeals to Beijing on South China Sea

President Park Geun-hye called on China Sunday to peacefully cooperate with neighboring countries in resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea, noting during the annual East Asia Summit (EAS) that the issue is of “grave concern” to Seoul’s global trading. On a final leg of a three-nation tour, Park stressed that more than 90 percent of Korea’s crude oil imports and 30 percent of total trade bypass the area’s strategic waterways, and warned Beijing to abide by the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Signed in 2002 by China and 11 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the agreement promises to “enhance favorable conditions for a peaceful and durable solution of differences and disputes among countries concerned.” “Korea has consistently stressed that the dispute must be peacefully resolved according to international agreements and code of conduct,” a Blue House official quoted Park as saying at the convention in Malaysia. “China must guarantee the right of free navigation and flight.” The president’s comments were made during the 10th EAS at which 18 leaders from the East Asia region and adjoining countries convened for discussions about growth and trade. U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a tougher stance on the issue, lashing out at the Chinese government for building military facilities in the area and claiming islands. Read more: http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=3011908

Despite terror threat, South China Sea dispute dominates

KUALA LUMPUR — Ongoing tensions over the South China Sea heightened over the weekend, with China reacting angrily to the latest indications of growing U.S.- Japanese co-operation over the disputed sea.      Neither the U.S. nor Japan has a claim over the waters, unlike China, which claims around 80% of the sea. The Philippines, Vietnam and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also have claims to parts of the South China Sea, through which around $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year.      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday suggested Japan’s Self-Defense Force units could be sent to the area to protect freedom of navigation. His words — the latest signal of Japan’s nascent military assertiveness — backed recent U.S. moves to sail naval vessels through and fly bombers close to areas in which China has been building islands.      Reacting to Abe, Hong Lei, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said, “China will be vigilant against Japan’s interference in the South China Sea issue, its military return to the South China Sea in particular.”      China is using the islands — partly made by dredging seafloor sand onto and around existing reefs and islets — to buttress its case that its territorial waters cover much of the South China Sea.      The U.S., meanwhile, is accusing China of using the artificial islands to undermine freedom of navigation; it describes the islets as military outposts.      Chinese naval commander Wu Shengli said his battalions have shown “enormous restraint” in the face of what he termed American provocations. His ships, he added, are ready to “defend our national sovereignty.”      While the Philippines and Vietnam have joined the U.S. in butting heads with China over the issue, ASEAN has typically avoided either forging a unified position regarding the South China Sea or directly backing member-states.      ASEAN members Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei also claim waters in the South China Sea but for the most part have not locked horns with China over the issue. Read more: http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Despite-terror-threat-South-China-Sea-dispute-dominates

Japan Considers Sending Navy to Aid U.S. in South China Sea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told President Barack Obama he’ll consider sending the country’s maritime forces to back up U.S. operations in the South China Sea. The comments in a bilateral meeting Thursday on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila came after the U.S. sparked an angry reaction from China last month by sailing a warship close to an artificial island in waters that China views as its own territory. Japan and the U.S., its only formal ally, have occasionally conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea, but never in such close proximity to features claimed by China. “With regard to activity by the Self-Defense Forces in the South China Sea, I will consider it while focusing on what effect the situation has on Japan’s security,” Abe told Obama, according to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko. Abe’s comments were later confirmed by a foreign ministry official. Abe’s remarks could chill a nascent recovery in ties between Japan and its biggest trading partner after their worst crisis in decades. While Abe has held two summits with President Xi Jinping in the past year, the two leaders haven’t held any formal bilateral meetings during a series of international gatherings this month and China has shown irritation over Abe’s criticism of its actions in the South China Sea in recent weeks. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Abe’s comments did not indicate a change in policy, and Japan wasn’t currently planning to take part in U.S. operations. Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-20/japan-considers-sending-navy-to-support-u-s-in-south-china-sea

Abe to raise South China Sea issues at G-20, other global meetings

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to raise issues concerning the South China Sea at international meetings in coming weeks involving the Group of 20 major countries, and Southeast Asian nations and their dialogue partners. “The rule of law should be carried out to preserve the open, free and peaceful sea,” Abe said during a speech in Tokyo, underlining the importance of international cooperation to ensure that the rule of law prevails in maritime affairs. Abe’s remarks come amid heightened tension in the South China Sea following the passage late last month of a U.S. guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island China has built in the disputed Spratly Islands. That irked Beijing, which has expressed “resolute opposition” to moves that threaten Chinese sovereignty. “I would like to reaffirm the principle (of the rule of law) with concerned parties (and neighboring countries)…at the G-20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (meeting) and East Asia Summit,” Abe said. He was referring to the G-20 summit in Turkey, APEC forum in the Philippines, and the East Asia Summit in Malaysia where the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet with the group’ dialogue partners. China is part of the G-20 which also groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union. – See more at: http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/abe-to-raise-south-china-sea-issues-at-g-20-other-global-meetings#sthash.7aBUMJgX.dpuf