Japan names China as bigger threat than North Korea

According to the annual defense review of Japan, China’s growing military has replaced North Korea’s as its main security threat.

In the Defense White Paper, the security assessment placed China just behind the United States. This is the first time that Beijing has garnered second place. This has pushed North Korea to take the third spot. Russia came in fourth place.

At a media briefing, Japan’s Minister of Defense had this to say over the matter: “The reality is that China is rapidly increasing military spending, and so people can grasp that we need more pages. China is deploying air and sea assets in the Western Pacific and through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan with greater frequency.”

Over the past seven years, Japan has been raising its defense spending to counter the military advances of China and North Korea. The spending includes defenses against Pyongyang’s missiles which are believed to carry nuclear warheads.

In the past year, North Korea has been launching short-range missiles. This has led Japan into thinking that Pyongyang is capable of developing projectiles that could evade its Aegis ballistic missile defense.

In Japan’s quest to get ahead of the modernization of the Chinese military, it has turned to its ally, the United States. It will be buying stealth fighters and other advanced weapons to add to its military defense system.

The Japanese military has sought a $1.1 billion budget to order nine Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters from the United States. Japan also asked for six sort take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variants that would be operated from converted helicopter carriers.

Since April 1, Japan has managed to propose a 1.2% increase in its defense budget. The budget would include U.S.-made interceptor missiles, stealth jets, and other military equipment.

Japan’s move to put China into the second spot in its security assessment could be due to Beijing’s rising military spending. In 2019, China’s military spending has increased by 7.5%. This is equivalent to about $220 billion. In 2018, Beijing spent $1.77 billion which was three times more than Japan’s spending.

“We will implement the military strategy for the new era, strengthen military training under combat conditions, and firmly protect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in a report last March.

Over the years, China has been developing weapons that are part of its plans to expand the range and scope of military operations.

China is no longer just limiting its operations near its coast. It sends sea and air patrol operations routinely near the western Okinawa islands of Japan. It has also extended its operations into the Western Pacific.

The Chinese government has brushed off concerns regarding its intentions and military spending. Despite having more presence in the South China Sea, Beijing said that it is only there to aim for harmonious expansion.

Based on Japan’s White Paper, it considers the presence of the Chinese near its waters and skies as a national security concern.

North Korea is not the only country to have been downgraded. South Korea has also been demoted. This is due to South Korea’s recent pull-out from an intelligence pact it shared with Japan. The two countries have been embroiled in a conflict over their shared wartime history.

South Korea has reacted to a reference made in the White Paper regarding the ownership of an island found in the Sea of Japan. The island, which is known as Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean, is also being claimed and controlled by South Korea.

In a statement, the foreign minister of South Korea said: “Our government strongly protests Japan’s repeated claim. The Japanese government should acknowledge that it is not helpful for bilateral relations.”

According to Tokyo’s annual defense review, China’s growing military has replaced North Korea’s as Japan’s main security threat.

In the Defense White Paper, the security assessment placed China just behind the United States. This is the first time that Beijing has garnered second place. This has pushed North Korea to take the third spot. Russia came in fourth place.

At a media briefing, Japan’s Minister of Defense had this to say over the matter: “The reality is that China is rapidly increasing military spending, and so people can grasp that we need more pages. China is deploying air and sea assets in the Western Pacific and through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan with greater frequency.”

Over the past seven years, Japan has been raising its defense spending to counter the military advances of China and North Korea. The spending includes defenses against Pyongyang’s missiles which are believed to carry nuclear warheads.

Over the past year, North Korea has been launching short-range missiles. This has led Japan into thinking that Pyongyang is capable of developing projectiles that could evade its Aegis ballistic missile defense.

In Japan’s quest to get ahead of the modernization of the Chinese military, it has turned to its ally, the United States. It will be buying stealth fighters and other advanced weapons to add to its military defense system.

The Japanese military has sought got a $1.1 billion budget to order nine Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters from the United States. Japan also asked for six sort take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variants that would be operated from converted helicopter carriers.

Since April 1, Japan has managed to propose a 1.2% increase in its defense budget. The budget would include U.S.-made interceptor missile, stealth jets, and other military equipment.

Japan’s move to put China into the second spot in its security assessment could be due to Beijing’s rising military spending. In 2019, China’s military spending has increased by 7.5%. This is equivalent to about $220 billion. In 2018, Beijing spent $1.77 billion which was three times more than Japan’s spending.

“We will implement the military strategy for the new era, strengthen military training under combat conditions, and firmly protect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests,” said Premier Li Keqiang in a report last March.

Over the years, China has been developing weapons that are part of its plans to expand the range and scope of military operations.

China is no longer just limiting its operations near its coast. It sends sea and air patrol operations routinely near the western Okinawa islands of Japan. It has also extended its operations into the Western Pacific.

The Chinese government has brushed off concerns regarding its intentions and military spending. Despite having more presence in the South China Sea, Beijing said that it is only there to aim for harmonious expansion.

Based on Japan’s White Paper, it considers the presence of the Chinese near its waters and skies as a national security concern.

North Korea is not the only country to have been downgraded. South Korea has also been demoted. This is due to South Korea’s recent pull-out from an intelligence pact it shared with Japan. The two countries have been embroiled in a conflict over their shared wartime history.

South Korea has reacted to a reference made in the White Paper regarding the ownership of an island found in the Sea of Japan. The island, which is known as Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean, is also being claimed and controlled by South Korea.

In a statement, the foreign minister of South Korea said: “Our government strongly protests Japan’s repeated claim. The Japanese government should acknowledge that it is not helpful for bilateral relations.”

Apart from the United States, China, North Korea, and South Korea, there are also other countries mentioned in Japan’s defense paper. This includes Australia, India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

About the Author

Ara Chua
A writer who is open to penning almost anything and everything under the sun. In her free time, she likes to dream of faraway places and to sing along to BTS.

Be the first to comment on "Japan names China as bigger threat than North Korea"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*