China Tells Japan to Get Used to ‘Routine’ Military Threats

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    “The growing capabilities of the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] Navy will mean that such activities become routine,” the Global Times quoted Chinese military analysts as saying on July 6, including Song Zhongping, a Chinese “military expert and TV commentator.”

    Continuing, the Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper explained why Beijing will likely continue to order naval patrols near Japan’s maritime territory despite repeated diplomatic protests by Tokyo:

    Japan has been hyping PLA naval activities to raise rhetoric on the “China threat” theory, but it is Japan that has been repeatedly provoking China over Taiwan and other questions in the first place […].

    Chinese warships’ activities are more than about deterring Japan, as China is aiming to build a blue-water navy that goes farther into distant waters for alert patrols, exercises and missions to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, Song said, noting that Japan only feels it is special because of its location, as Chinese vessels that want to enter the Pacific Ocean need to make transits through these straits near Japan.

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    Japan’s Defense Ministry has documented at least 15 intrusions by Chinese naval or coast guard vessels into Japanese territorial waters so far this year, with the latest instance occurring on July 5.

    “Two Chinese coast guard vessels entered Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkakus on Tuesday [July 5],” Kyodo News reported.

    Relaying the series of events, the Tokyo-based news agency wrote:

    The Japan Coast Guard said the intrusion, the 15th this year and the first since June 23, happened around 4:35 a.m. after the Chinese ships tracked a Japanese fishing boat.

    The patrol vessels ordered the two Chinese ships to immediately exit the waters near the group of uninhabited islets, administrated by Japan but claimed by China, in the East China Sea.

    [Japan] Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Japan has made a “serious protest” with China through diplomatic channels. Calling the intrusion a violation of international law, he said at a regular press conference that Japan will deal with China’s actions “calmly and resolutely.”

    The Senkakus form an island chain that is strategically located near natural gas deposits and Taiwan, which is also illegally claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory. Japan’s government has recently ramped up its public support for Taiwan’s status as a sovereign nation. Tokyo’s pro-Taipei rhetoric comes as Taiwan endures near-daily incursions into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) by China’s air force. The solidarity between Japan and Taiwan has roused the ire of Beijing, which, in turn, has ordered an unusually high number of naval and coast guard vessels to patrol waters around Japan in recent weeks. A flotilla of Chinese PLAN ships completed a circumnavigation of the Japanese archipelago on June 30. The ships ended their 18-day journey near Taiwan after first entering waters near Japan’s Tsushima Strait on June 12.

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