Japan’s military seeks record spending to counter N Korea, China moves

Japan’s defense ministry on Wednesday asked for a hike in spending to record levels, as it juggles its responses to a growing ballistic missile threat from North Korea and China’s assertive moves in the East China Sea.

If approved, the hike of 2.3% will take the defense budget to 5.17 trillion yen ($51.47 billion) in the year starting April 1, for a fifth consecutive increase as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bolsters Japan’s military. Continue reading

China Is Mass-Producing Islands To Extend Its Strategic Borders

A dramatic change is taking place in the South China Sea where, since the beginning of this year, Beijing has created at least five new islands by dredging rock and sand and pumping it into reefs to form new land. By doing so, the Chinese are sending a blunt message to its neighbors and the U.S.: Keep out.

As a BBC News special report notes, China’s island building is aimed at addressing what it views as a serious strategic deficit:

In 2012 the Communist Party reclassified the South China Sea as a “core national interest”, placing it alongside such sensitive issues as Taiwan and Tibet. It means China is prepared to fight to defend it.

This is confirmed by Prof Yan Xuetong of Beijing’s Tsinghua University— a pro-government academic well known for presenting the Communist Party’s view to the outside world.

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Move aims to seal off ‘first island chain’: analysts

Tokyo boosts missile defense

Japan is moving to strengthen its military capability to block the Chinese navy with more advanced surface-to-ship missiles (SSM) scheduled to be deployed in the country’s southwest in 2016.

Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force will start to deploy Type 12 SSMs in 2016 in Kumamoto prefecture on the island of Kyushu to “guard from China’s attack to some extent,” the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported Sunday. Continue reading

Japan plans ‘to set up military bases near Diaoyus’ amid row with China

Japan is to establish new military outposts on remote islands, a report said today, as Tokyo looks to bolster its defence amid a territorial dispute with China.

Up to 350 troops each could be stationed on three islands in the far southwest, close to the Senkakus, which Beijing claims as its own under the name Diaoyus, the mass-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

With the exception of the main Okinawa island, Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Forces, its army, have no bases on the chain of islands that runs from the bottom of Kyushu to Taiwan. There are limited air force facilities in the area. Continue reading