Friday, December 21, 2012

Japan ready for stronger military stance vs China but remains committed to peace

Japan said it is ready to adopt a stronger military posture to defend its territory following the recent incursion of Chinese planes over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

In a statement released by the Japanese embassy in Manila, Tokyo described the December 13 flyby over the islands by Chinese State Oceanic Administration aircraft “a further dangerous act.”

‘This is the first intrusion of its kind” and “constitutes an unlawful act,” the statement said.

Tokyo branded the action as “dangerous behavior” that worsens an already volatile situation and increases the possibility of actual military conflict.

“Japan will take a firm response to an airspace incursion under domestic laws and regulations. Japan’s Air Self-Defense Forces took a countermeasure which is a standard operation procedure that is widely recognized in the international community to counter an airspace incursion by a foreign aircraft,” the statement said. “Based in international law, any state has complete and exclusive sovereign over the airspace above its territory.”

News reports at the time of the incursion said Japan had scrambled fighter jets.

“Any country can take necessary measures to stop an airspace incursion,” Tokyo noted, stressing further, “If China further escalates the current situation, Japan will have no choice but to consider its future response with adequate readiness accordingly.”

But while indicating they were ready for the worst, Tokyo also moved to assuage fears of the resurgence of a militarist Japan.

“Japan has consistently maintained the hallmark of a peace loving nation after World War Two … we will continuously contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia,” the statement vowed.

“It is China that is challenging the status quo concerned the Senkaku Islands by coercion rather than adhering to the international law,” Tokyo said, noting that China’s recent action is not in synch with the declaration made the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that it “opposes hegemonism and power politics and that it will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.”

Japan challenged Beijing to prove its commitment to peace and diplomacy by “peacefully dealing with issues by its own action.”

Despite the increased tensions and their unshakable claim over the Senkaku Islands, Tokyo said it has maintained open communication lines with the Chinese.

But, it added, should Chinese incursions continue, the “environment to continue communications between diplomatic authorities of the two countries could be harmed.”-Interaksyon (December 20, 2012 3:01PM)

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