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 Japan, U.S. to up talks on China threat / Rapid buildup of military main concern

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Japan, U.S. to up talks on China threat / Rapid buildup of military main concern Empty
PostSubject: Japan, U.S. to up talks on China threat / Rapid buildup of military main concern   Japan, U.S. to up talks on China threat / Rapid buildup of military main concern EmptyTue Oct 26, 2010 3:39 am

Satoshi Ogawa / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

WASHINGTON--Japan and the United States will beef up strategic consultations to cope with China's rapid military buildup, especially the strengthening of its maritime might, according to Japanese and U.S. diplomatic sources.

The United States proposed stepping up the consultations at a meeting in New York on Sept. 23 between foreign ministers of the two countries, the sources said.

The dialogue on how to respond to China's rapidly growing presence in the international community on the strength of its massive military buildup will take place among ministers as well as working-level officials of both countries, they said.

Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae met with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg in Washington on Oct. 12 to exchange views on the emergence of China as a growing naval threat in Asian waters, the sources said.

And a meeting between Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scheduled for Wednesday in Hawaii will focus on China's military buildup, the sources said.

Although a formal framework may eventually be created to hold Tokyo-Washington consultations regarding China on a regular basis, the United States, at least for now, wants to have "talks on various levels as frequently as possible," the sources said.

To avoid provoking Chinese animosity, proceedings of the talks will be kept confidential, they said.

Up until around the end of last year, the U.S. administration was looking into ways to cooperate with China on such issues as the global financial crisis and climate change.

Washington, however, has become wary of China's increasingly provocative moves to expand its maritime influence, in particular in the waters around Japan and the South China Sea.

Under the circumstances, the United States has renewed its awareness of the importance of relations with its key ally Japan, returning to its conventional focus on its relationship with Japan in its foreign relations in Asia, the sources said.

In May, China published a document titled "Marine Development Report 2010" in which it expressed the national strategic goal of becoming a "great maritime power." In the document, the Chinese government stressed its resolve to expand the range of waters that come under Chinese sovereignty and secure the country's maritime interests.

Beijing's expansionist maritime activities have created frictions with not only Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea but also with China's other neighbors.

For example, conflicting claims by China, Vietnam and the Philippines over territorial rights involving the Spratly Islands and Parcel Islands in the South China Sea have created tensions among the claimants.
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