The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe carefully observes Beijing’s maneuvers around a series of islands in dispute and also the forthcoming Vostok 2018 exercises organized by Moscow in the Far East. He also urged to remember the “serious and imminent threat” of North Korea
The Japanese defence minister warned on Monday that his country faces a difficult security environment due to the increased military activity of China and Russia and the “imminent threat” represented by North Korea.
“China rapidly increased its force of action and intensified its military activities in the air and maritime spaces of our country for which it has become a major concern,” said Itsunori Onodera in a speech before the highest leaders of the Self-Defense Forces of Japan (name of the Japanese armed forces).
Itsunori Onodera cited as an example of Chinese military activism the airborne operations around Japan and the presence of nuclear submarines near the Senkaku Islands, in litigation.
Onodera made the remarks as the Japanese government tries to improve diplomatic relations with China and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares a visit to Beijing in October.
China is Japan’s main trading partner.
In 2012, when he came to power, Shinzo Abe adopted a firm tone in the different territorial disputes that Japan has with China.
However, he recently softened his rhetoric and urged China to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic programs.
In addition, numerous Japanese companies have publicly signalled their desire to increase ties with China to improve trade.
On the other hand, Onodera considered that Russia activated its military forces in a worrying way, referring to the maneuvers that the Russian Armed Forces foresee to develop soon in the Kuril Islands, which Japan claims.
“We are seeing movements to once again push their military activities to the Far East,” he said.
Moscow prepares for the middle of September the exercises Vostok 2018, the largest since the Cold War and that will take place in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, coming very close to the Kurils.
Finally, Onodera reiterated that North Korea remained a “serious and imminent threat” to Japan, despite the negotiations on the denuclearization it carries out with the United States, and as it had warned days ago.