China media: Japan's arms exports

Japan wants to showcase its military expertise to the world, Chinese papers say Image copyright AP
Image caption Japan wants to showcase its military expertise to the world, Chinese papers say

Japan's decision to ease its half-century old self-imposed arms export ban is a step forward in making the country a "strong military power", papers in China say.

Under the new conditions, Japan will be able to jointly develop arms with allies and give its defence industry access to new markets and technology.

In the past all military sales have effectively been banned, although there has been technology transfer to the US.

Suspicious of Japan's "ambitions", Wang Shaojin, an expert on Japan from Shanghai Jiaotong University, tells the Chinese edition of the Global Times that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving ahead to realise his "strong army dream".

"Mr Abe is leading Japan step by step on a dangerous path away from the peaceful development after the war," the daily quotes him as saying.

Echoing similar sentiments, Lyu Yaodong, a Japan affairs researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tells the Beijing Times that Japan is seeking to "shake off its image as a defeated country" and expand its influence particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

He adds that if Japan were to export arms to the "South China Sea countries", including the Philippines and Vietnam, regional tensions would build up and this would affect Tokyo-Beijing relations.

The state-run Liberation Army Daily agrees that Mr Abe is reviving the dream of Japan being "a country of strong military might".

"Japan's arms industry will benefit greatly from the arms sale. For a long time, Japan has focussed only on its defenceā€¦ the 'no profit' arms industry does not have the economic motivation to research or develop new weaponry. To maintain technical advantage, the Japanese government has to use taxpayers' money to 'transfuse blood' to the industry," it observes.

It adds that right-wing politicians in Japan have been "working hard for a long time to remove this 'curse'' of the ban.

The move "will also increase the commonality between the military equipment of the US and Japan, therefore further strengthening the alliance between the two, which would further threaten the peace of the region", it adds.

Anger against Manila

Meanwhile, the media continue to lash out at the Philippines for seeking arbitration at the UN over its territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, in what seems to be a concerted media campaign against Manila's decision.

The Philippines has submitted evidence to a UN tribunal hearing its case against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Both sides have overlapping claims in the sea, leading to severe tensions. China has refused to take part in the arbitration and warned that the case will damage bilateral ties.

Several broadsheets have reprinted People's Daily's commentary, which warns the Philippines that "it will not get its way" by bringing the issue to the international court.

The Beijing Times adds that "international law experts" are criticising the Philippines for taking a "wrong way" to solve the disputes.

Describing Manila's actions as "reckless", the China Daily says the actions will further hurt its relations with China, hampering efforts "to reach an amicable solution to the disputes".

"As a close neighbour and trading partner of China, the Philippines has a big stake in the smooth development of their bilateral ties and it would be wise to return to the negotiating table," it urges.

And finally, some media outlets are sounding disapproval at the protest held against a planned chemical plant in Maoming, Guangdong province.

According to local reports, residents of Maoming, in southern China, gathered on Sunday to protest against a planned paraxylene (PX) plant.

Defending the plan, the Global Times Chinese edition says that the PX plants will produce aromatic hydrocarbon, a basic material for the heavy chemical industry, that would ease China's heavy reliance on imports.

"Increasing the number of large-scale PX projects has vital bearing on China's economy and people's livelihoods" and such "high reliance on imports" could pose "long-term strategic risks".

It urges the local government to be more transparent in the project dealings, but to stand firm in the face of resistance from the people.

"We do not believe that all the PX and heavy chemical projects are unreasonable or are harmful to the environment. We need a local government that is capable and strong enough to face pressure and able to communicate with the public effectively and patiently," it adds.

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