Disputes in South China Sea were a strategic issue given the amount of commercial trade that passes through the region, he said, and should be resolved in a peaceful manner. By 2030 almost 50% of the word’s total GDP will pass through the Indo-Pacific region.
Addressing delegates attending the RUSI/1SL Sea Power conference at London’s ExCel centre on Monday, Otsuka warned that the activities of some states in regional waters ‘from an ocean of peace’ to ‘an ocean of war’.
‘States have always been the major actors for conflict in (the) Asia Pacific, on land and at sea. For territorial problems in South China Sea, multiple states are involved… there have been some escalations among claimants,’ said Otsuka.
‘Land reclamation conducted by some countries has been a problem in the South China Sea (and) we have to admit that the rule of law is at risk in this region. The JMSDF will secure the credibility of a deterrence capability and seek a multilateral framework in the Indo-Pacific region.’
Otsuka also highlighted the danger involved in the purported use of civilian fishing vessels as ‘a maritime militia’ in operating in the disputed region.
Following the address Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai, commander of the PLA Navy’s North Sea fleet, who was also presenting, moved to respond through an interpreter on the remarks made by his Japanese counterpart.