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Usually, Japan is not as vocal as other nations about China’s interests in the South China Sea, but the latest outburst from Tokyo as ignited fury from Beijing. Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono said: “Anyone who is trying to change the status quo by force needs to be forced to pay a high cost.” Mr Kono said China’s building of fortified installations across the South China Sea is “destabilizing”.
He added: “A free and open maritime order in the South China Sea is as important as any other place and what happens there will concern the international community.”
Japan now follows the US to condemn Beijing’s moves to claim sovereignty over large sections of international waters.
China claims the region within the nine-dash line.
This line on a map has not been verified by any international body, but only by the Chinese Communist Party who make a historic claim via maps drawn up by during the Qing dynasty.
Beijing refers to the string of fortified islands as the “Great Wall of Sand”.
In January 2013, the Philippines formally initiated arbitration proceedings against China’s territorial claim on the “nine-dash line”, which it said is unlawful under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In July 2010 referring to its territorial claim over the South China Sea, the Communist Party-controlled Global Times stated that “China will never waive its right to protect its core interest with military means”.
The US has hit out at China’s moves in the region.
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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wants to increase pressure on Beijing.
He claims Beijing is showing a “brazen disregard of international commitments” in the South China Sea.
He added: “Make no mistake, the Chinese Communist Party, CCP, has been engaged in this sort of behaviour for many years.
“But today, its true intentions are on full display for all to see.”
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has also shown his opposition to Chinese expansionism in the region.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum he said Australia would “take concrete action to support our Pacific and Southeast Asian friends and family.”
Japanese defence minister Mr Kono at the forum also spoke of the danger from North Korean nuclear missiles and how important it is for the US and Japan to work together.
He said: “They have missiles and they may have some nuclear capability.
“We are not sure what Kim Jong-un is thinking.
“So it is more difficult to predict what North Korea is trying to do, so we need to be on alert 24/7.”
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