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Is Japan Getting Involved As a Military Power in South China Sea To Trigger Conflict with China, Asks a Chinese Expert

Aug. 16, 2015 (EIRNS)—In an exclusive article with the BRICS Post today, Minghao Zhou, a research scholar and a member of the China National Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP), has pointed out that while the standoff between China and the United States has hardened in the South China Sea in recent months, there are indications that Japan is making moves as a military power to enhance tensions.

Describing the intensification of tensions in the South China Sea between China and the United States as a form of strategic competition, Zhao addressed Japan’s present role in aggravating the crisis. In late July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signaled that Japan could conduct minesweeping operations in the South China Sea. It indicated a desire of the Abe administration to push forward with its ambitious national security strategy in virtue of the South China Sea issue. Tokyo possesses advanced naval and air military power as well as amphibious warfare capabilities. With the recent passage of Abe’s security legislation in the Diet and the ongoing transformation of the U.S.-Japan alliance, Japans’ military revival would be nothing less than a nightmare for China, Zhao said.

Zhao said that despite Washington’s lack of control over the countries in the region contesting China’s claim over islands in South China Sea, its eagerness to get into a conflict-like situation with China indicates its plan to use the issue as leverage to safeguard U.S. regional primacy. But Zhao noted that more worrying is the emergence of military powers, such as Japan, who are now engaged in the theater of crisis, planning to change the landscape of maritime Asia.