Japan’s annual defense review has expressed ”deep concern” over what it sees as China’s ”coercion” and aggressiveness, particularly in the South China Sea.
The review comes amid heightened tension in East and Southeast Asia less than a month after an arbitration court in the Hague invalidated China’s sweeping claims in the disputed South China Sea.
An increasingly aggressive and militaristic China refuses to recognize the ruling.
Japan fears that Chinese military bases being built on shoals and tiny islands in the sea will dangerously expand Beijing’s influence over a region through which $5 trillion in trade passes every year, much of it to and from Japanese ports.
And so, notes Reuters, Japan provides equipment and training to Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines and Vietnam, that “are most opposed to China’s territorial ambitions.”
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