Japan slams China, North Korea activities in report

Japan slams China, North Korea activities in report

TOKYO - The Associated Press
Japan slams China, North Korea activities in report

Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian (C) sails near Japan Coast Guard vessels (R, L) and a Japanese fishing boat (front 2nd L) near Uotsuri island. REUTERS photo

Japan has criticized China for trying to resolve territorial conflicts with shows of force that increase the risk of dangerous clashes and said North Korea appeared to have entered a “new phase” toward producing better long-range missiles while improving its nuclear weapons program.

Tokyo is particularly concerned by China’s activities in waters around islands that both countries claim, according to the Defense Ministry’s annual report, which is a yearly snapshot of what Japan perceives to be its major security issues. The islands dispute has strained relations between Japan and China.

For months, ships from both countries have regularly patrolled around the small island group called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyutai in China. “China has attempted to change the status quo by force based on its own assertion which is incompatible with the existing order of international law,” the report said. “There is a concern over its future direction.”

The annual report was the first issued under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took the office late last year. On North Korea, which Japan sees as another major security challenge for the region, the report said Pyongyang’s third nuclear test, last February, and its launch of a long-range rocket in December last year suggest it might be making considerable progress on both fronts.