Jason Lee/Reuters - Chinese People’s Liberation Army navy sailors wait to attend a July 19 ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Japan raised concern Tuesday about China’s growing assertiveness in regional waters
Japan voiced concern Tuesday about China’s growing assertiveness in regional waters at a time when it is becoming less clear who in Beijing is making decisions about the country’s military.
In its annual white paper, Japan’s Defense Ministry spoke of the “changing” influence of the Chinese military on foreign policy, although the document did not specifically say that the influence is growing. An increasingly “complex” relationship between the People’s Liberation Army and the ruling Communist Party presents a “risk management issue” for the region, Tokyo said.
Although Japan has long expressed unease about China’s lack of transparency on military spending and troop positioning, this was the first time its Defense Ministry had commented on the Chinese leadership’s actual decision-making process, Japanese officials said. Japan specifically noted the Communist Party’s once-a-decade leadership change, planned for later this year.
“There is a certain degree of wariness, not only in Japan but in the whole of East Asia, as to which direction China will be heading,” Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said at a news conference, according to the Kyodo News agency.
Tensions between the Asian neighbors have spiked in recent weeks amid the latest flare-up over a disputed, uninhabited island chain, which Japan recently said it would consider purchasing from a private landowner. The Defense Ministry paper called for Japan to beef up its presence in