The contest for Asian supremacy is heating up. China’s more assertive military and political posture in the age of Obama is provoking reactions from the neighbors. In recent weeks Vietnam and the Philippines have spoken up; now even the often reticent and self-effacing Japanese are toughening their tone. As the UPI story has it:
China’s maritime activities are “overbearing” and arouse “anxiety about its future direction,” Japan’s annual Defense Ministry white paper states.
Beijing’s buildup of its maritime power and its defense policy in general, which was noted in last year’s white paper, continues to be “a concern for the regional and the international community,” a report by Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said. China should “be aware of its responsibility as a major power and abide by international rules.”To mark Japan’s concern over China, the Ministry of Defense created in the white paper a new section dealing with Beijing’s activities specifically in the South China Sea, the Yomiuri Shimbun report said.The document — the longest annual defense report at nearly 600 pages — says Japan fears the territorial disputes between China and its neighbors, in particular the dispute over the Spratly Islands, “will affect peace and security in regional and global society.”
Remember that the current Japanese government originally hoped to distance itself from Washington and steer a little closer to China.The less peaceful China looks, the less happy the neighbors are about its rise.