Japan on Thursday lodged a protest with China after four Chinese coastguard vessels entered what Tokyo considers its territorial waters near disputed East China Sea islets and a drone-like object flew near one ship, the Japanese government said.
It was the first such flight near the islands witnessed by Japanese officials, although Thursday’s incident takes to 13 the number of intrusions this year by Chinese coastguard ships in the contested waters, Japan’s coastguard said.
Japan and China have long been at loggerheads over the tiny, uninhabited islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. They are controlled by Japan but claimed also by China.
Kenji Kanasugi, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, protested to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo by telephone.
“The Senkaku islands are Japan’s inherent territory and the entry into the territorial waters by the Chinese government ships is absolutely unacceptable,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.
“On top of that, there appears to have been a flight of a drone. We lodged a stern protest against this unilateral escalation of the situation by China.”
The Chinese embassy responded to the Japanese protest by reiterating “China’s own stance” on the islands, the official added.
In a brief statement on its website, China’s State Oceanic Administration confirmed that four coast guard vessels had been patrolling by the islands, but made no mention of any drone.
China routinely rejects Japanese criticism of such patrols, saying its ships have every right to operate in what China calls its territorial waters.
(Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Source: Reuters “Japan protests to China over drone flight near disputed islets”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
By Nobuhiro Kubo | TOKYO Fri Feb 17, 2017 | 6:25am EST
Japan plans to accelerate a warship building program to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China, three people with knowledge of the plan said.
Japan previously was building one 5,000-ton class destroyer a year, but will now make two 3,000-ton class ships a year, beginning from the April 2018 fiscal year, the people said, declining to be identified as they are not authorized to talk to the media.
It aims to produce a fleet of eight of the new class of smaller, cheaper vessels, which may also have mine-sweeping and anti-submarine capability.
Naval shipyard operators including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Marine United Corp (JMU) and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding are expected to bid for the work, the people said.
Japan and China dispute ownership of a group of islands in the East China Sea, about 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Taiwan. In Japan, they are known as the Senkakus, while China calls them the Diaoyu islands.
Senior Japanese military officials have said they are concerned that China may seek to increase its influence in the East China Sea around Japan’s southern Okinawa island chain. Japan provides military aid to Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines and Vietnam that oppose China’s territorial claims in the neighboring South China Sea.
In a departure from normal procurement practice, Japan’s Ministry of Defense said in a report published on Wednesday it will require the winner of the – eight frigate – contract to offer major portions of the build to other bidders.
The change is meant to ensure naval shipyards remain open.
In the past two years, JMU has won contracts to build the larger Aegis-equipped destroyers, raising some concern among defense ministry officials that rivals could shutter their shipyards, one of the sources said.
“We need to ensure our ability to build naval vessels at home,” the person said.
The new ships will cost 40-50 billion yen ($353-$443 million) each, another of the sources said.
(Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)
Source: Reuters “Exclusive: Japan to speed up frigate build to reinforce East China Sea – sources”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
What are Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Japanese dreams in the first place? American people have talked much about American dream while Chinese President Xi Jinping is requesting Chinese people to have the Chinese dream he cherishes, but we have never heard Abe talking about his Japanese dreams. However judging by what he has been making great efforts to achieve, we know what his Japanese dreams are.
Like Trump’s desire to make America great again, first, Abe wants to make Japan great again.
There have been lots of reports about his abenomics to revive Japan’s stagnant economy, for which he relies greatly on Obama’s TPP. That dream has been broken by Trump’s prompt withdrawal from TPP though Abe has visited Trump and personally tried hard to persuade him no to do so.
Even if Abe is able to reinvigorate Japanese economy, he still doubts whether Japan will be able to deal with a rising China that grows strong both economically and militarily quicker than Japan.
Therefore, whether Abe is able to revive Japan’s economy or not, he has a more important dream: He dreams that the US will defeat China and stop China’s growth.
That is why Abe has been trying hard to pit the US against China. He tried hard to provoke China to fight Japan so that the US will perform its treaty obligations to defend Japan and fight China.
He wants a war with China urgently to involve the US as he believes the US is strong enough now to defeat China. However, if China grows even stronger later, the US will not be able to defeat China.
The US says that its treaty with Japan covers the disputed Diaoyu (known as Senkaku in Japan) Islands and that the US will defend Japan’s administration of the islands.
China, however, sends coast guard ships to patrol the sea area around the Diaoyu including the area within 12 nautical miles that both Japan and China claim as their territorial waters.
Abe was very happy that if he sent Japanese navy to drive away Chinese coast guard ships from the disputed waters, China will respond with its navy so that there will be a naval war between China and Japan and thus involve the US.
That dream was first broken by the then US Vice President Joe Biden. Biden told Abe not to send navy as the US would not fight for a few rocks. Biden then visited Beijing and told his old friend Chinese President Xi Jinping to refrain from firing the first shot to begin a war.
Since Japanese government purchased the disputed islands, in order to claim China’s sovereignty to the islands, China has sent large fishing fleet to fish in the disputed waters and patrolled the disputed waters and airspace with its coast guard ships and warplanes. However, due to Joe Biden’s intervention, Japan has not been able to drive Chinese boats, ships and warplanes away to impose its exclusive administration of the disputed islands. It dare not do so as that will give rise to a war with China that the US does not want to be involved.
Does US new president Donald Trump want any change in the situation?
In its report “Mattis: US will defend Japanese islands claimed by China” on February 4, CNN quotes American new defense secretary James Mattis as saying in a press conference with his Japanese counterpart, “I made clear that our long-standing policy on the Senkaku Islands stands — the US will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the islands and as such Article 5 of the US-Japan Security Treaty applies.”
What is the use of continual recognition? The US simply remains the same in refusing to support Japan in driving away Chinese boats, ships and warplanes in the disputed waters and airspace. Perhaps, Mattis meant that the US would be involved if China takes the islands by force, but who will be so stupid as to incur huge costs in taking those barren rocks. What China contends for is the rich fishing and energy resources around those rocks. China is now fishing and exploring the energy resources there without being blocked by Japanese navy, even less by US navy.
The saddest thing for Abe is not Japan’s lost of its exclusive administration of the disputed islands, but the failure to pit the US against China so as to make the US defeat China and stop China’s rise. Abe is always afraid that a strong China may avenge the war crimes Japan has committed when it invaded China in the 1930s and 1940s.
That is Abe’s Japanese nightmare. He has the Japanese dream to have the US help him prevent such a nightmare from becoming reality.
Now Mattis’ promise of protection implies that Japan has to pay more for the protection to set a good example for other US allies. It gives Abe the signals that Japan has to make concessions in trade and currency to maintain good relations with the US for US protection.
US President Trump’s recent letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping for constructive ties with China seems the beginning of another nightmare for Abe. The US is now using its protection as a bargaining chip to have better access to Japanese market and competition edges in Chinese market.
How can Abe revive Japanese economy under such unfavorable circumstances?
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNN’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/03/asia/us-defense-secretary-mattis-japan-visit/
Japan will step up efforts to bolster its coastguard as a territorial dispute with China over a group of East China Sea islets shows no signs of abating, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.
Japan has long been at odds with China over the disputed islands, controlled by Japan but claimed also by China. They are called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Coastguard vessels from both countries routinely shadow each other near the uninhabited islets, stoking concern that an accidental collision or other complications could trigger a clash.
Japan’s coastguard budget for the year starting next April will exceed 210 billion yen ($1.8 billion) to help add five new large patrol ships to its fleet and increase the maritime law enforcement agency’s personnel by more than 200, Abe said.
The coastguard’s initial budget for this fiscal year, to March 2017, was 187.7 billion yen.
“Since the fall of 2012, Chinese government vessels have sailed near the Senkaku almost daily, and have entered Japan’s territorial waters around the islands a few times a month,” Abe told a meeting of relevant ministers.
Abe said the coastguard had to protect Japan’s waters and people and “ensure security and peace of mind”.
Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii, whose portfolio includes the coastguard, told reporters the situation over the disputed islets was “heading for a higher degree of urgency” because of increasing Chinese incursions.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka) Wed Dec 21, 2016 | 11:15am EST
Source: Reuters “Japan to bolster coast guard amid island dispute with China”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In my post yesterday titled “Japan Panicked as 7 of 10 Chinese Government Ships Armed with Cannons”, I says based on HK radio that Japan regards the situation as very serious as it finds that 7 of the 10 Chinese government ships in the sea area near the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkakus in Japan) carry cannons. Japanese foreign minister directly contacted his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and asked Chinese ships to leave as soon as possible.
China’s official media Global Times says in its report today that Japan has lodged 23 protests over the past 5 days through various channels against Chinese government ships and fishing boats operating within 12 nautical miles of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.
The operation of 15, the largest number ever, government ships in disputed waters is obviously China’s retaliation at Japan’s interference with China’s disputes in the South China Sea. Japan is not a party to the disputes nor a South China Sea country, but it has been urging China to respect the Hague ruling on the dispute and even expressed “deep concern” over China’s rejection of Hague arbitration ruling in its annual defense review on August 2.
However, neither Japan nor China wants tension to deteriorate without limit. Japan elected Toshihiro Nikai, a pro-Beijing politician, as secretary general of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party because after all Japan has lots of investment and interests in China. China, on the other hand, wants to keep good economic relations with Japan.
As a measure to ease the tension, Chinese ambassador to Japan Chen Yonghua visited Nikai to congratulate him. SCMP says in its report titled “Why are Chinese vessels sailing off the Diaoyus? According to Beijing’s envoy, they’re after ‘big fish’” today that Nikai expressed his concerns to Chen about the operations of large number of Chinese government ships in disputed waters.
Chen was previously very tough and contended that the area is China’s territory waters, hinting that Chinese ships were there to claim China’s sovereignty. However, to Nikai who he regards as a friend, he said instead that the unprecedented large number of 15 Chinese government ships were there for a “big catch of fish”.
SCMP says that Nikai said he was told by Cheng Yonghua that “fish were markedly concentrated” in the area around the islets. As Chen told Nikai Beijing would address the situation “sincerely” and has agreed with Nikai on a plan to seek an amicable solution through dialogue, the crisis must have been over now.
However, there has been no sign that China is withdrawing its government ships and its fishing boats have remained there to conduct large-scale fishing.
This blogger has pointed out in his previous posts that the disputed islands are but useless rocks and what China care is the fish and energy resources around them. Now China is getting the benefits of having the disputed islands by exploiting the fish and energy resources there. Is there any need for China to take the disputed islands by force? Better maintaining the profitable status quo and let Japan has nominal administration of the disputed islands. What is the point to have military conflict with Japan for those worthless rocks?
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at:
Radio Hong Kong says in its report 2 hours ago that Japan finds that 7 of the 10 Chinese government ships in the sea area near the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkakus in Japan) carrying cannons. It regards the situation as very serious so that Japanese foreign minister directly contacted his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and asked Chinese ships to leave as soon as possible.
Source: Radio Hong Kong “Japan says it finds 10 Chinese government ships sailing in the area near the Diaoyus” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)