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China asks Japan to be prudent over US alliance

Source: PTI
February 26, 2010 20:08 IST
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China has warned Japan that efforts to link growing US-Japanese defence alliance with the rise of Chinese military power could prove counterproductive to ties between Beijing and Tokyo.

China's defence ministry said recent comments by Japanese politicians underlining that the US-Japanese defence alliance has become more important to counteract growing Chinese military power could result in deterioration in Beijing's trust in Tokyo.

Some Japanese politicians said recently that Japan's alliance with the United States would become even more important given China's rise as a military power and decided to hold discussions on the issue when amending its new defence guidelines, according to report in China Daily on Friday.

As Sino-Japanese defence ties have been developing positively, such remarks would definitely have a big impact on the countries mutual trust, the daily quoted senior Colonel Huang Xueping, the defense ministry's spokesman, as saying.

"I need to point out that the Japan-US alliance is a bilateral arrangement against a specific historical background, which should be limited strictly to the bilateral sphere and not target a third party," Huang said.

According to Zhou Yongsheng, a Japan studies professor with the China Foreign Affairs University, the new defence guidelines reflect the fact that Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's pro-China attitude cannot outweigh a growing negative trend against Beijing in the country.

"The new guideline sees China as a future threat, and that means Japan has basically returned to its old strategies," Zhou was quoted as saying in the report titled 'Japan told to be prudent over US alliance'.

In recent past, some of Japanese politicians have expressed apprehension over the increasing expansion of the Chinese military.

Ichiro Ozawa, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, in his recent visit to Beijing met Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie in Beijing and expressed concern over China's military build-up.

"There is sentiment in Japan that sees China's military modernisation as a threat," Ozawa said he told Liang during their meeting.

"If Japan were to strengthen armaments, it would not bring good results for the future of Japan and China," Ozawa said.

The influential Japanese lawmaker quoted Liang as telling him that China's military "serves to protect a large territory and border, definitely not to seek hegemony."

Last year's victory of DPJ, regarded as pro-China compared to the Conservative Party, has raised hopes of more balanced relations between the two Asian neighbours.

However, Tokyo's concern over Chinese military and firming up alliance with Japan-US defence ties remained dominant.

Two months ago, Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa had said Japan's alliance with the United States would become more important with China's rise as a military power.

"It is true that China is building up its navy and air force. But their intentions are not clear to us," Kitazawa said.

"As China increases its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, there may be countries that feel threatened. In that sense, the value of the Japan-US alliance will actually increase," he said.
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