South China Sea: Japan calls on nations to come together as Beijing ‘rapidly expanding’ | World | News
Japan has called on Europe, the United States and other Asian nations to come together to stand up to China following its rapid extension in the South China Sea. Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told the European Parliament’s security and defence sub-committee: “China has been in beefing up its military capacity very rapidly and we are not sure what the Chinese intentions are. And we are seriously concerned with this.”
NATO leaders on Monday said for the first time that China’s rise presents “systemic challenges”.
US President Joe Biden’s eight-day trip to Europe focused on rallying support for an American strategy to contain rising Chinese power.
China’s mission to the EU rebuked NATO and said it is “committed to a defence policy that is defensive in nature.”
Kishi told EU lawmakers that China’s ballistic missiles, its decision to increase its defence budget to four times that of Japan and its militarisation of islands in the South China Sea needed to be “observed vigilantly” to “preserve peace.”
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“They’re expanding their national defence budget enormously,” he said.
“The international community must come up with one voice to approach China,” he said, also calling for Beijing to explain why it was also rapidly developing its air force, now the third-largest in the world, according to US Department of Defence data.
China has the world’s largest navy, with a greater number of battle force ships and submarines than the United States, the world’s foremost military power, according to the US data, based on 2019 developments.
China also has more than 1,250 ground-launched ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges between 500 km (311 miles) and 5,500 km, a longer range than the United States.
The United States has no ground-launched cruise missiles, the US data said, after signing arms control agreements with Russia that China is not subject to.
It comes as China does not tolerate foreign forces intervening in Taiwan issues and has to make strong responses to such acts of “collusion”, the government said on Wednesday after the island reported the largest incursion to date of Chinese aircraft.
Twenty-eight Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the Chinese-claimed island’s government said.
The incident came after the Group of Seven leaders issued a joint statement on Sunday scolding China for a series of issues and underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, comments China condemned as “slander”.
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Asked at a news conference whether the military activity was related to the G7 statement, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said it was Taiwan’s government that was to blame for tensions. Beijing believes the island’s government is working with foreign countries to seek formal independence.
“We will never tolerate attempts to seek independence or wanton intervention in the Taiwan issue by foreign forces, so we need to make a strong response to these acts of collusion,” Ma said.
Democratically-ruled Taiwan has complained over the last few months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the island, concentrated in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
However, this time not only did the Chinese aircraft fly in an area close to the Pratas Islands, but the bombers and some of the fighters flew around the southern part of Taiwan near the bottom tip of the island, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.