China warns Japan over intelligence station
China has warned Japan over the launch of a radar station in the East China Sea that will give Tokyo a permanent base to gather intelligence on the surrounding areas.
Japan opened the new Self Defense Forces base on Monday. The base is situated on the island of Yonaguni at the western extreme of a group of Japanese islands in the East China Sea. These islands are some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the disputed islands known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
Now “we can keep watch on territory surrounding Japan and respond to all situations,” said Daigo Shiomitsu, a Ground Self Defense Forces lieutenant colonel, who commands the new base. “Until yesterday, there was no coastal observation unit west of the main Okinawa island. It was a vacuum we needed to fill.”
Later in the day, China’s defense ministry described the move as “provocative” and called on the international community to stay on alert over Japan’s military expansion.
“The Diaoyu Islands are China’s inherent territory. We are resolutely opposed to any provocative behavior by Japan aimed at Chinese territory,” China’s defense ministry said. “The activities of Chinese ships and aircraft in the relevant waters and airspace are completely appropriate and legal,” it added.
Moreover, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei called on Japan to avoid actions which disturb regional peace and stability.
“We hope the Japanese side learns from the hard lessons of history, sticks to the path of peaceful development, acts with discretion on military and security issues and does more to enhance mutual trust with neighbors and to benefit regional peace and stability,” Lei said.