China’s military buildup and its unilateral actions in the East and South China Seas are of serious concern to the Japanese government. Kyodo news agency quoted an excerpt from the annual Blue Book Diplomacy Report on April 27 as saying that.
Last year’s report used milder language. That was because Japan was expecting an official visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was canceled due to the coronavirus situation. Kyodo notes that Japan also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the PRC in its 2021 report.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry also once again criticized the February 1 law enacted in China, which gives the Coast Guard the power to open fire on foreign ships in order to protect national sovereignty. In response, Japan also gave its coast guard the right to use weapons in the event of an attempted landing on the disputed archipelago, which experts say increases the threat of armed conflict between the countries.
The official publication of the report is expected soon.
The territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu) in the East China Sea, which escalated in September 2012 after Tokyo bought them from private owners, continues. In the South China Sea, tensions persist over the claims by several countries in the region to the Spratly Islands and the neighboring Paracel Islands. The dispute involves China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.