China slams Abe’s Davos implication
Global Times | 2014-1-24 0:48:03
By Zhang Yiwei
China Thursday refuted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent appeal for more transparency in China's military budget, stating that it is Japan that should increase transparency and explain its own military buildup.
"China's defense policy is transparent and has been published in its white papers and on other occasions," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Thursday told a regular press briefing in response to Abe's speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a day earlier.
"We must ... restrain military expansion in Asia, which could otherwise go unchecked," Abe told the annual meeting of global business and political leaders, following his government's custom of not naming China in such references.
In response, Qin urged Japan to explain to Asia and the international community the real purpose of amending its pacifist constitution, which has been in existence since 1947. The Abe government has been trying to revise it so as to greenlight the expansion of Japan's military forces.
In December, Abe's cabinet approved a critical defense policy package comprising new defense program guidelines, a five-year defense buildup plan and the national security strategy. Japan vowed to seek more "proactive" roles for its military forces abroad and to set new guidelines on arms exports, signaling a major shift from its previous restrictive stance.
"Abe tends to depict China as a threat at whatever occasion he attends. His purpose is to worsen Sino-Japan relations and damage China's image in the international community, as well as tear apart economic development in the Asia-Pacific region," Lü Yaodong, a research fellow of Japanese politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
During the Davos speech, Abe also called for dispute resolution through "dialogue and the rule of law, and not through force and coercion."
Qin said that Japan cannot on one hand refuse to admit mistakes and continue to denigrate China, and on the other hand indulge in empty rhetoric to advocate dialogue, as it is the Japanese leader that is shutting the door to dialogue.
Liu Jiangyong, a vice director of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, said it is inappropriate for Abe to cast blame for political issues at an economic forum.
"Abe is trying to distract people's attention by claiming it is others' fault," Liu told the Global Times.
Abe also defended his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, saying that the shrine honors the dead of World War I and the 1868 Meiji war, not just war criminals or others who died in World War II.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is currently attending the international conference on Syria in Montreux, Switzerland, described Abe's argument as futile, which only serves to expose Abe's erroneous perception of history.
Even today, the Yasukuni Shrine still represents the notion that the aggression of Japan in World War II was "just," the Pacific War Japan launched was "self-defense" and the trial at the Far East International Military Tribunal was "illegitimate," as well as honoring 14 Class-A war criminals, Wang noted.
South Korea Thursday also said that it is a complete contradiction to talk about forging friendly ties while continuing visits to the shrine.
Liu said Abe is unlikely to change his stance even though he sensed the pressure and isolation from the international community.
"His explanation reveals that he doesn't think he's wrong and he would do it again," Liu said.
Tensions between China and Japan have been rising since Tokyo announced in September 2012 the "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
Chinese air force planes have been regularly patrolling the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which covers the Diaoyu Islands, air force spokesman Shen Jinke said Thursday.
On a recent patrol, multiple Chinese aircraft were sent to "monitor, identify, track and warn" multiple foreign military planes that had entered the ADIZ, established two months ago, Shen added.
Agencies contributed to this story