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

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs