Yonaguni militarization exposes Tokyo’s aggression against China

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-29 0:38:01

Japan on Monday switched on a radar station on the island of Yonaguni in the East China Sea, making it the intelligence gathering post closest to Taiwan and the Diaoyu Islands.

Japan, following the US, has been pointing its fingers at China for militarizing the South China Sea islands. It is reported that China may build a radar station in the Nansha Islands, to which Tokyo fiercely objected. However, as the radar station on Yonaguni was set up, which will be followed by the Self Defense Forces, how can Tokyo explain its act of militarization in the East China Sea?

Japan's security bill is set to take effect on Tuesday, which grants the Japanese government more freedom to take military actions. Tokyo has enhanced its military alliance with the US and does not hide its operational plans targeted at China. The possibilities of military confrontations linger in China-Japan relations.

Some Japanese people believe the worsening bilateral ties can be attributed to China's policies over the Diaoyu Islands. Nonetheless, the fundamental reason is that Japan does not accept a rising China.

The contention between China and the US determines the Asia-Pacific security landscape. Falling into the orbit of the US has become Japan's strategic option. Washington also encourages Tokyo to come to the forefront and confront China. Tokyo would also like to play such a role and take the opportunity to rebuild first-rate security.

Japan could have played a balancing role in the Asia-Pacific security pattern and achieved the political independence that it longed for after WWII. However, it has served as a pawn of the US, the support of which emboldens Tokyo to confront a rising China.

This may partly be attributed to China's unsuccessful strategy toward Japan. But it is more because the US has more capabilities than China to maneuver Japan. The future trajectory of Sino-Japanese ties is controlled by Washington.

Although some Chinese observers believe that Beijing holds the initiative to ease tensions with Japan, the driving force is lacking. Confrontation between the two is a long-term trend.

Japan's military deployment on the island of Yonaguni, under the guise of responding to North Korea's nuclear threat, is another step forward taken by Japan to confront China. A strategic ease between the two is difficult.

Unless China can expand its strength gap with Japan and ensure that it can mobilize more influence than the US in East Asia, only then  will Japan give up the desire to confront China.

Japan is a highly developed country with huge military potential, and still has advantages over China in technology. At this time, China should focus on strengthening its own capability without initiating a contest with Japan.

Posted in: Observer

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