After G7 tour, Japan PM says East Asia could be 'next Ukraine'
Japanese PM says Ukraine may be the East Asia of tomorrow and warns of a rising China.
Japanese PM Fumio Kishida urged on Saturday a "united front" against what he claimed to be a rising China and a hostile North Korea [DPRK], saying he told Western powers that East Asia could be "the next Ukraine."
Kicking off Japan's year as G7 Head, Kishida visited leaders of all members of the elite club except Germany, due to a time conflict, but he plans to visit it soon.
Closing his tour in Washington, Kishida said he shared with G7 leaders his "strong sense of crisis regarding the security environment in East Asia."
"Ukraine may be the East Asia of tomorrow," Kishida told a news conference a day after meeting US President Joe Biden, adding that security concerns in the two regions are "inseparable."
"The situation around Japan is becoming increasingly severe with attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East China Sea and South China Sea and the activation of North Korea's nuclear and missile activities," he said.
The Japanese PM was referring to China's growing assertiveness in surrounding waters where Beijing has several island disputes including with Japan.
On Friday, China reacts after the United States and Japan vowed to solidify their alliance against Beijing, which they identified as a mutual "threat."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, made the remarks at a press briefing in Beijing on Friday, two days after the senior American and Japanese foreign and defense officials met in Washington, calling China's growing power the "greatest strategic challenge" in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
"The Asia-Pacific is an anchor for peace and development, not a wrestling ground for geopolitics. We Asia-Pacific countries support justice and cooperation and oppose hegemonism and confrontation," the spokesperson said.
Wang urged the United States and Japan "to abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, stop creating imaginary enemies...and refrain from becoming countercurrents that destabilize the stability of the Asia-Pacific region."
In August, Chinese forces fired ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that China considers part of its territory and has not ruled out taking by force.
Kishida came to Washington after his government announced that Japan would amp up the capacities and capabilities of the country's navy and military over the next five years.
Kishida said he would work to "explain thoroughly to the public" the need to use tax money to increase Japan's defense budget to around 2% of the gross domestic product, a goal separately set by NATO that more countries are accepting since the start of the war in Ukraine.