Australia cautioned over Japan subs
China urged Australia on Wednesday to be cautious over defense cooperation with Japan and to take the feelings of Asian countries into account when considering the purchase of Japanese submarines.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks to reporters during a joint briefing with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Beijing.
“We hope that in military cooperation with Japan, Australia will take into full account the historical context and also take into consideration the feelings of Asian countries because of that history,” Wang said.
“Japan was defeated during World War II, and that is why for decades it has been asked to follow very strict constraints under its pacifist Constitution and domestic laws in terms of exporting weapons to other countries and cooperation in this regard,” Wang said.
“We hope that Australia will take concrete action to support the peaceful development of Japan and Japan’s efforts to uphold its pacifist Constitution, and not the opposite,” he added.
According to media reports, Australia is now selecting from three bids by Japan, Germany and France for a new fleet of submarines to replace its Collins- Class vessels.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that before visiting China, Bishop traveled to Tokyo, where she was offered a $50 billion contract by her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida to buy his country’s Soryu submarines, as well as defense technology transfer.
In the Chinese capital, Bishop said Canberra is enhancing military ties with Beijing by carrying out more exercises and increasing defense cooperation.
She said a comprehensive evaluation is underway regarding any final decision on the submarines.
“It is apparent that Australia is enhancing its strategic relationship with a number of countries in our region, including China,” Bishop said.
She added, “Our interests are in attaining a new submarine fleet that meets our capability and technological requirements in terms of range and capacity.”
Luo Yuan, a researcher at the China Academy of Military Sciences, said Japan is using the submarines purchase to ease restraints imposed after World War II, and the international community should pay attention to this.
“Japan did not reflect on its wartime history thoroughly and even airbrushes it,” Luo said. “Exporting weapons at this time will be a substantial move to remove its shackles from the war and a further step to amend its pacifist Constitution.”
Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Wednesday in Beijing.