world

Japan ‘preparing for war’ in first major military drills for 30 YEARS as tensions rage with China over disputed islands


CHINA has claimed Japan is “preparing for war” as it stages its first major military exercised for nearly 30 years.

The defence drills stoked already rising tensions between the neighbours as a dispute over a chain of strategic islands threatens to escalate into open conflict.

100,000 troops from the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force began massive exercises this week (file image)

6

100,000 troops from the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force began massive exercises this week (file image)Credit: Getty
It comes amid rising tensions over the uninhabited Senkaku islands

6

It comes amid rising tensions over the uninhabited Senkaku islands

Beijing’s ships and planes have made dozens of incursions this year close to the uninhabited Senkaku islands – known as Diaoyu in China.

Now in a surprise move, Tokyo is pushing back at increasing aggression and plans new bases to defend the islands.

It has bought new F-35 jets, converted ships into aircraft carriers and is building new destroyers and submarines.

And this week nationwide exercises involving 100,000 troops from all units of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force kicked off in a huge show of force.

The drills – also involving 20,000 vehicles, 120 aircraft and a US troop landing ship – are the first on this scale since 1993.

According to Japanese media, the drills are in direct response to “China’s ramped-up regional assertiveness”.

Beijing is reported to be closely watching the exercises, and warned any conflict would bring “destructive consequences” to Japan.

The state-controlled Global Times quoted “military experts” saying the drills could be a sign Japan is “preparing for war”.

It also claimed Japanese politicians had been “lying” to the people, leading to “unreasonable hostility and bias” against China.

See also  Coronavirus: South Korea reports lowest number of new cases in four weeks

The Chinese experts even boasted Japan lacks the ability to fight back and in any case could not do anything without the say-so of the USA.

It comes amid an escalating arms race among Asian superpowers, with China and North Korea building hypersonic missiles and high-tech subs.

Kim Jong-un this week tested a new cruise missile and a train-launched ballistic missile that are claimed to be able to strike Japan.

Fumio Kishida, the man tipped to be Japan’s next prime minister, recently said his nation should acquire preemptive military kit such as fighter jets and missiles to take out enemy weapons on the ground before they’re launched.

‘RESOLUTE DEFENCE’

Tensions over the Senkaku islands have simmered for decades.

They lie near vital shipping routes and hold valuable stocks of fish and potentially oil and gas.

China has claimed them since the 14th century, and Japan controlled them from 1895 until the end of World War Two.

After the surrender they were administered by the US until 1972, when they were handed back to Japan.

Tensions boiled over again in 2012, leading to mass protests in China.

More recently, Beijing’s increasing military expansionism has led to renewed clashes in the East China Sea.

Tokyo claims Chinese Coast Guard vessels had entered Japanese territorial waters a staggering 88 times between January 1 and the end of August.

Asian superpowers are scrambling to build up their missile arsenals

6

Asian superpowers are scrambling to build up their missile arsenals

Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told CNN this week his country was willing to defend its territory and draw a red line around the islands.

See also  Ex-Trump adviser Michael Flynn charges of lying to FBI 'to be dropped'

“Against Chinese action to Senkaku Islands and other parts of the East China Sea … we have to demonstrate that the government of Japan is resolutely defending our territory with the greater number of Japanese coast guard vessels than that of China,” he said.

“There is no territorial dispute relating to the Senkaku Islands between Japan and other countries.”

Japan fears China will try to repeat its illegal occupation of archipelagos belonging to the Philippines in the South China Sea, where it has built a new “Great Wall” of fortifications.

Beijing insists there is no dispute over who owns the Senkaku islands.

“The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are an inherent part of China’s territory, and it is our inherent right to carry out patrols and law enforcement activities in these waters,” China’s Foreign Ministry said last year.

China has also been engaged in a war of words with Australia, even threatening to launch nukes in response to a deal with the UK to build submarines.

And Taiwan is on high alert over the threat of invasion, staging its own defence drills this week in readiness.

Japanese soldiers stage a biowarfare exercise in Tokyo earlier this year

6

Japanese soldiers stage a biowarfare exercise in Tokyo earlier this yearCredit: Getty
Japan is beefing up its sea, air and ground forces in response to the threat from China

6

Japan is beefing up its sea, air and ground forces in response to the threat from ChinaCredit: Getty
Beijing claims sovereignty over the strategic Senkaku islands in the East China Sea

6

Beijing claims sovereignty over the strategic Senkaku islands in the East China SeaCredit: Getty – Pool
Taiwan conducts drills with fighter jets and commandos as tensions with China escalate





READ SOURCE

See also  Australia will pay back Timor-Leste's oil revenue, Jose Ramos-Horta says

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more