China cautiously watching Abe's defense moves

December 28, 2012

By NOZOMU HAYASHI/ Correspondent

BEIJING--An anxious China is closely monitoring the early moves of new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in particular his call for a review of long-term defense policy.

Hua Chunying, deputy director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Information Department, told a news conference on Dec. 27, “We are highly interested in political developments in Japan.”

Hua warned against Japan and the United States heightening tensions with China by deepening their cooperation and alliance.

“The Japan-U.S. alliance should not undermine the interests of third-party countries, including China,” she said.

China’s diplomatic authorities were watching closely if Abe would make a move that would increase tensions over the Senkaku Islands, disputed islets between the two countries.

On the review of the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program, ordered by the prime minister on Dec. 26, a researcher at a Chinese government-affiliated think tank said, “We had expected that the Abe administration would pursue a review of the security framework and the strengthening of the alliance, but the moves are coming faster than expected.”

But a Chinese diplomatic official said, “Reviewing the defense program is basically a domestic issue of Japan. China’s response depends on the details.”

Beijing is taking a stance of calmly observing developments as Abe begins his second term as prime minister.

However, the chances are great that the government will be forced to take a stern response if concern and resentment toward actions being taken by the new Abe administration arise in the military, authorities over oceanic matters and public opinion, including the media.

By NOZOMU HAYASHI/ Correspondent
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Aegis-equipped ships of the Maritime Self-Defense Force set sail from Sasebo Naval Base in Nagasaki Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Aegis-equipped ships of the Maritime Self-Defense Force set sail from Sasebo Naval Base in Nagasaki Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Aegis-equipped ships of the Maritime Self-Defense Force set sail from Sasebo Naval Base in Nagasaki Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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