Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When the chips come down...

...who will Japan side with?

In its annual white paper released Friday, the Defense Ministry expressed concern about recent Chinese navy activities in waters around Japan.

The report, the first under the Democratic Party of Japan administration, detailed specific drills and activities in its assessment of Chinese naval power.

The document was originally slated for release in late July.

It was postponed over concern that its mention of islets claimed by both Tokyo and Seoul could rekindle anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea prior to the Aug. 29 centenary of Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

But as in past reports, it described the Takeshima islets (Dokdo in Korean) as an "integral part" of Japanese territory.

On China, it said uncertainties about the country's defense policy and military strength are a matter of concern to the region, including Japan, and the international community.

It went on to describe in detail such incidents as a fleet of Chinese warships, including submarines, passing in waters between Okinawan islands during a drill and a Chinese navy helicopter buzzing vessels of the Self-Defense Forces in April.

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