Japan's increase in defense spending concerns China
Japan increases its defense budget as it also boosts its alliance with the US creating deeper Chinese concerns that Japan will not hold up its commitment to peaceful development.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday that Beijing voiced concern over dangers that could result from Tokyo's decision to increase its defense spending, for the upcoming fiscal year, based on an overestimation of regional tensions.
In its fiscal year that ends in March 2023, Japan had $40.5 billion in defence budget made 5.4 trillion yen.
According to reports, the defense ministry intends to increase the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in April 2023, to a record-high of 5.595 trillion yen, while other analysts anticipate defence expenditure will surpass 6.5 trillion yen.
"We express concern over the obvious and significant increase in Japan's defense spending," Wang told a briefing, adding that Japan "is overestimating the regional tensions to boost its own military strength."
According to the Chinese spokesperson, this might be "very dangerous" as it also forced Japan's neighbours and the world to wonder whether it would be able to, in the future, remain committed to peaceful development.
Japan defense plan to 'strengthen and modernize' US alliance
Following news on December 16 that Japan will overhaul its defense policy, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, said the new policy will "strengthen and modernize" the country's military alliance with the United States.
"Japan's goal to significantly increase defense investments will... strengthen and modernize the US-Japan Alliance," Sullivan said on Friday.
Tokyo pledged to increase security expenditure to two percent of GDP by 2027, reorganize its military command, and buy new missiles, which can target distant enemy launch sites in its biggest defense shake-up in decades.
The move includes the purchase of as many as 500 US-made Tomahawk missiles.
The undisclosed portion of the budget also includes "standoff" missiles with a development budget of more than 30 billion yen - the most expensive item in this year's budget, as per media reports.
"Fundamentally strengthening our defense capabilities is the most urgent challenge in this severe security environment," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last week.
On this issue, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the move showed "Japan's staunch commitment to upholding the international rules-based order and a free and open Indo-Pacific."
Tokyo is eyeing a major arms buildup since World War Two, intensifying tensions with China while increasing its coordination with the West in the Asia Pacific region.
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