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China Responds Sternly to Japanese Defense Minister Announcement of Joint Japan-U.S. Patrols in South China Sea

Sept. 17, 2016 (EIRNS)—Recently appointed Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, infamous as an extreme anti-China hawk, announced at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies on Sept. 15 that Japan would participate in joint patrols with the U.S. in the South China Sea. China’s party paper Global Times, in an unsigned editorial today, warned that such actions will destroy efforts now taking place to improve China-Japan relations, and could lead to military conflict.

Noting that both Australia and the Philippines have rejected Obama’s call for such joint provocations, the editorial says:

"Inada’s latest remarks challenges China’s bottom line. The moment Tokyo decides to send warships to the South China Sea, the efforts by both China and Japan to improve bilateral relations will become futile. The situation in the South China Sea, which just began to cool down, will be disturbed due to the waves splashed by the joint patrol by the two outside countries. China has no other choice but to take countermeasures.

"The joint patrol, once it begins, is the ‘gunboat policy’ of the 21st Century against China. China should resolutely begin military deployment on its expanded Nansha Islands to balance the situation, and should notify ASEAN countries beforehand to allow international society to know the cause of the increased tension.

"If the joint patrol intensifies or involves more countries and severely disturbs regional order, China should then declare a South China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. By then, China will have a system of a cluster of militarized islands and air defense identification zones to counter U.S. and Japanese warships."

The editorial also makes clear that the provocation comes from Washington more than Tokyo:

"China-Japan conflict is not isolated, as Japan and the U.S. stand by each other in a complicated strategic game. China already has an economy that is twice as large as Japan’s and is a nuclear power, which makes Japan only a minor player in the game of China-U.S. strategic contention."

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