News / Asia

    Japan Slams China's 'Profoundly Dangerous' Air Defense Zone

    FILE - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
    FILE - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
    VOA News

    Japan used an annual defense paper on Tuesday to issue a fresh warning about what it sees as China's destabilizing actions in the region.

    The so-called white paper expressed particular concern about China's "profoundly dangerous" declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in a part of the East China Sea that includes islands also claimed by Japan.

    The paper, which was adopted Tuesday by the Cabinet, said the identification zone is an attempt by China to "unilaterally change the status quo, escalate the situation, and may cause unintended consequences."

    In what many see as a response to China's actions, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to expand the regional role of his country's military.

    Temple University Asian Studies professor Jeffrey Kingston says he sees the white paper as focused on a domestic audience.

    "The big problem for Prime Minister Abe is that the public is totally opposed to him ramping up Japan's security posture," he said. "His decision at the beginning of July to reinterpret Article 9 of the constitution to make it possible to for Japan to engage in what they call "collective self-defense," is opposed vigorously by most Japanese."

    Several of China's neighbors have accused Beijing of using similar aggressive tactics to forcibly advance its disputed maritime claims in the nearby South China Sea.

    Those disputes are expected to be a major topic of discussion at an upcoming summit of ASEAN foreign ministers in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

    Speaking to reporters in Washington Monday, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said Secretary of State John Kerry will urge China and its neighbors to agree to voluntarily refrain from destabilizing actions in the South China Sea.

    "It can range from very modest steps, steps that have already been agreed to by all the claimants, such as an agreement not to seize currently unoccupied land features. Or it could include more significant steps, such as a moratorium on the reclamation work that several claimants have under way to add land to the features that they are currently occupying," said Russel.

    China has repeatedly taken assertive steps to enforce its claims to nearly the entire South China Sea, rattling rival claimants, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

    China has already rejected such a proposal, saying it is within its rights to carry out such activities in what it views as its territory.

    Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, said Kerry will also push China to make progress with ASEAN on a long-delayed Code of Conduct to help regulate activities and lessen tensions in the South China Sea.  

    China is reluctant to discuss its territorial disputes at bilateral forums such as ASEAN. It instead prefers to deal with each claimant individually, a position that gives it considerably more clout.

    Beijing recently withdrew an oil rig from an area also claimed by Vietnam, bringing an end to months of heightened tensions and small-scale sea clashes.

    Russel said China's withdrawal of the rig removed a serious irritant, but strained China-Vietnam ties, left a legacy of anger, and raised "serious questions" about China's long-term strategy.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.