Japan’s new Chinese reality – WSJ – .

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Japan’s new Chinese reality – WSJ – .


The concerns of the most important Asian ally of the United States about China’s rise to military power are growing. Last month, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso warned that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could threaten Japan’s “survival”. Now Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi has squarely acknowledged America’s relative decline in the Western Pacific and the need for Japan to assert itself militarily to fill the void.
The remarks came in an interview with Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. Mr. Kishi “said the shifting balance of power between the United States and China ‘has become very visible’ as a military battle over Taiwan has ‘skewed dramatically in favor of China,’” the newspaper reported. He added that China “is trying to change the status quo unilaterally by force and coercion” and said “we must build a structure where we can protect ourselves”.
Japanese officials normally speak quietly in public, but China’s immense military buildup has become impossible to ignore. According to a new report from the Lowy Institute by military analyst Thomas Shugart, China has “become the world’s leading maritime power by most measures”, adding 80 warships to its navy in the past five years as the United States added 36.
Measured by the tonnage of warships, China’s naval expansion since 2016 has easily overtaken the expansion of the US Pacific Fleet and Allied Quad navies of India, Japan and Australia combined. , according to the report. The US Navy retains some qualitative advantages, but ultimately quantity trumps quality.
Japan, which relies mainly on the United States for its defense, is at the forefront of this realignment of maritime power. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has proposed an inflation-adjusted cut to the U.S. defense budget. The Senate Armed Services Committee added $ 25 billion last month, but with Congress preparing for a $ 3.5 trillion welfare state expansion, observers in Tokyo have good reason to doubt that the U.S. United can never afford to guarantee the security of the Pacific as they have done since World War II.

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