China on Tuesday reacted angrily to Japan’s biggest change in defence policy since the World War II, saying the move could undermine regional peace and harm Chinese sovereignty.
Japan’s cabinet has approved a significant shift in its 60-year pacifist policy, widening its military options in the midst of heightened tensions with China over disputed islands.
The contentious move will allow the military to help defend other nations in what is known as “collective self-defence.”
Reacting to the development, China said Tokyo’s attempt to change its character projecting a ‘China threat’ will undermine peace in the region.
China sees the change as the most significant shift in Japan’s defence policy since it lost in World War II 60 years ago.
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The move would widen Japan’s military options specially in the backdrop of Tokyo’s close ally US’ push into Asia-Pacific.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Japan should respect Asian neighbours’ security concerns and not harm China’s sovereignty and security interests.
For historical reasons, Japanese policy moves in military and security fields are closely watched by its Asian neighbours and the international community, Hong told a media briefing here.
The Japanese government has recently provoked disputes on historical issues and made unprecedented dramatic changes to its security policy, he said, referring to the raging dispute between the two nations over the resource-rich islands in the East China Sea.
“People cannot but question whether Japan will change the peaceful development path it has long stuck to since the end of World War II. We oppose Japan’s fabrication of the so-called China threat so as to serve its domestic political purposes,” he said.
“We urge the Japanese side to earnestly respect legitimate security concerns of its Asian neighbours, deal with relevant issues with discretion, not to harm the national sovereignty and security interests of China and not to undermine regional peace and stability, ” he said.