Japan ranks China a bigger threat than nuclear-armed North Korea

THIS is just a taste of what they are doing, and we are being questioned about our stance!!

How naive do we need to be?
How much in denial do we have to be?

IS it a case of the trojan horse has already bolted, and we still have our blinkers on?

IS it the case we are rusted on to our commercial imperatives … that we ignore the significance of what is really happening?

IS it the case we are so driven by our own self-imposed code of behaviour that we fail to call out bad policies of bad governments because it might affect trade?

AT CAAN we suggest the answers are a ‘yes’!

Japan ranks China a bigger threat than nuclear-armed North Korea

27 SEPTEMBER 2019

Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force personnel

PHOTO: Japan is shoring up its defence, including training with American forces. (US Military)

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China’s growing military might has replaced North Korean belligerence as the main security threat to Japan, according to Tokyo’s annual defence review — this despite signs that Pyongyang could have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

Key Points:

  • China’s military spending is set to rise more than three times that of Japan.
  • Beijing now routinely sends its air and sea patrols near Japan’s western Okinawa islands
  • Japan considerrs Chinese patrols near its territory a ‘”security concern”

The document’s security assessment on China — listing them as a threat — comes after a section on Japan’s ally, the United States, which, along with Japan’s own defence system, forms the cornerstone of Japan’s security.

This is the first time Beijing has achieved second place in the Defence White Paper, pushing North Korea into third position.

Russia, deemed by Japan as its primary threat during the Cold War, was in fourth place.

“The reality is that China is rapidly increasing military spending, and so people can grasp that we need more pages,” Minister of Defence Taro Kono said at a media briefing.

“China is deploying air and sea assets in the Western Pacific and through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan with greater frequency.”

China’s growing military might

President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping plan to refurbish China’s People’s Liberation (PLA) by developing everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers as China ramps up its presence in the South China Sea and around Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rogue Chinese territory.

In March, Beijing unveiled a target of 7.5 per cent rise in defence spending for 2019, a slower rate than last year but one that still outpaces China’s economic growth target.

Before and after: South China Sea

Before and after: South China Sea

See how China is converting reefs to military facilities by building artificial islands in the South China Sea.

In 2018, China invested some $US239.2 billion ($354 billion) in its military — a sum greater than the gross domestic products (GDPs) of entire countries such as New Zealand, Greece or Portugal in the same year — according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Today, this means the PLA is swiftly catching up to the technological prowess of Washington and Moscow, and military analysis website Global Firepower estimated the Chinese military draws upon about 2.18 million active personnel.

The country has been showcasing its military might at the recent rehearsals to mark 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Earlier this month, photos and videos of one of the rehearsals posted on social media revealed an array of supersonic and stealth weapons and equipment being rolled into central Beijing, including a new wedge-shaped supersonic spy drone.

The latest weaponry reveal followed reports from earlier this year that China was shoring up its navy, after a photo emerged showing a warship armed with an electromagnetic railgun that uses enormous electric currents to shoot projectiles from tracks at great speed.

Japan fights back

Japan has raised defence spending by a tenth over the past seven years to counter military advances by Beijing and Pyongyang, including defences against North Korean missiles which may carry nuclear warheads, the paper said.

North Korea has conducted short-range missile launches this year, which Tokyo believes show Pyongyang is developing projectiles to evade its Aegis ballistic missile defences.

A US military F-35B fighter jet is photographed approaching an aircraft carrier in the western Pacific.

PHOTO: Japan plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 42 F-35Bs, over the next decade.
(Kyodo News via AP: Takuto Kaneko)

To stay ahead of China’s modernising military, Japan is buying US-made stealth fighters and other advanced weapons.

In its latest budget request, Japan’s military asked for 115.6 billion yen ($1.6 billion) to buy nine Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters, including six F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variants to operate from converted helicopter carriers.

The stealth jets, US-made interceptor missiles and other equipment are part of a proposed 1.2 per cent increase in defence spending to a record 5.32 trillion yen ($73.1 billion) in the year starting April 1.

What exactly is a railgun?

It sounds like science fiction — a naval gun capable of firing a projectile at 2.5 kilometres per second — but does the technology stack up to the military bravado?

Over the next decade, Japan plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 42 of the SVTOL B variant.

By comparison, Chinese military spending is set to rise this year by 7.5 per cent to about $177 billion ($261.9 billion) from 2018, more than three times that of Japan.

Once largely confined to operating close to the Chinese coast, Beijing’s air and sea patrols are now routinely sent near Japan’s western Okinawa islands and into the Western Pacific.

China has frequently rebuffed concerns about its military spending and intentions, including a ramped-up presence in the disputed South China Sea, and says it only desires peaceful development.

Chinese patrols near Japanese territory ‘a national security concern’

The Defence White Paper said Chinese patrols in waters and skies near Japanese territory were “a national security concern”.

The paper downgraded fellow US ally South Korea, which recently pulled out of an intelligence sharing pact with Japan amid a spat over their shared wartime history.

The Liancourt Rocks in the Sea of Japan

PHOTO: South Korea and Japan both claim the Liancourt Rocks as their territory. (Reuters: South Korean Navy/Handout)

That could weaken efforts to contain North Korean threats, analysts said.

Other partners, including Australia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India, feature more prominently in the defence paper.

War wounds impact tech trade

What does Japan and South Korea’s tech trade dispute mean for the cost of your smartphone, and what does it have to do with forced labour during World War II?

“It’s a reflection of the level of cooperation we undertake with each partner,” a defence ministry official said at an earlier briefing.

South Korean government officials took issue with the White Paper’s reference to ownership of an island in the Sea of Japan that is also claimed and controlled by South Korea. The outcrop, also called Liancourt Rocks, is known as Dokdo in Seoul and Takeshima in Tokyo.

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

Reuters

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-27/japan-promotes-china-as-bigger-threat-than-nuclear-armed-north/11554880

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