Ja­pan should ‘get used to’ Chi­nese mil­i­tary in strait

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ja­pan should “get used to” the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s le­gal pas­sage through the Miyako Strait, the De­fense Min­istry said on Fri­day.

Six Chi­nese bombers flew through the strait be­tween Ja­pan’s Miyako and Ok­i­nawa is­lands on Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to Ja­pan’s Min­istry of De­fense. How­ever, the Chi­nese planes did not vi­o­late Ja­pan’s airspace, it added.

The Chi­nese mil­i­tary planes were con­duct­ing a rou­tine ex­er­cise and passed through the strait legally, said Ren Guo­qiang, a spokesman for China’s De­fense Min­istry.

The Chi­nese mil­i­tary will or­ga­nize sim­i­lar ex­er­cises far out at sea ac­cord­ing to the re­gional sit­u­a­tion and mis­sion needs in the fu­ture, he added. Such ac­tiv­i­ties should cause nei­ther alarm nor too much spec­u­la­tion, and rel­e­vant par­ties should “get used to it,” said Ren.

Ja­pan’s con­stant hyp­ing of Chi­nese mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties is to fan the so-called Chi­nese threat and pave the way to amend its Con­sti­tu­tion to le­git­imize its self-de­fense forces, ex­perts said.

Miyako Strait is a strate­gic en­try­way into the western Pa­cific that has been reg­u­larly used by the Chi­nese mil­i­tary for drills far out at sea.

In April, Chi­nese naval ships passed through the strait for such a reg­u­lar drill. In early March, Ja­pan scram­bled fighter jets af­ter a to­tal of 13 Chi­nese naval air­craft were spot­ted fly­ing through the strait.

China’s Air Force first flew over the strait in May 2015, but naval fleets have been tran­sit­ing through the strait since 2009.

Lyu Yaodong, a re­searcher of Ja­panese for­eign pol­icy at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said Ja­pan of­ten prided it­self as the pow­er­house in Asia in the 20th cen­tury, but this sta­tus has been chal­lenged by China’s rise.

“As a re­sult, Ja­pan will try ev­ery­thing to con­tain China’s geopo­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence, from the East China Sea to the South China Sea,” he said. “Ja­pan paints China’s grow­ing mil­i­tary strength as a loom­ing threat so that its gov­ern­ment can amend the con­sti­tu­tion and le­git­imize its self-de­fense forces.”

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