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China's military build-up, aggressive behaviour in the region a concern, Japan says – 11.02.22

Article by Greg Sheridan Foreign Editor of The Australian

China’s military build-up and aggressive behaviour in the region have become “a grave concern”, according to visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Mr Hayashi came to Australia to attend Friday’s meeting of the foreign ministers of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue involving the US, Japan, India and Australia.

In an exclusive, detailed written interview with The Australian, he accuses China of aggressive military behaviour in Japanese waters: “it is unacceptable that China Coast Guard vessels have repeatedly intruded into the Japanese territorial sea around the Senkaku Islands and have attempted to approach Japanese fishing boats.”

He sketches the outline of China’s massive military modernisation, and says: “Chinese military trends, combined with insufficient transparency on its defence politics and military affairs, have become a matter of grave concern to the region, including Japan and the international community.”

Mr Hayashi also offers strong support for Australia in standing up to the economic coercion it has faced from Beijing: “Japan and Australia are opposed to the use of economic coercion that undermines the rules-based trading system and the links between nations fostered by economic engagement. I am encouraged by the resilience with which Australia has responded to economic coercion to date.”

The Japanese foreign minister also provided an explicit endorsement to the AUKUS agreement involving the US, UK and Australia, hailing it as a positive for regional stability: “I believe that enhanced security and defence co-operation between Australia, the UK and the US will contribute to regional peace and stability. It is from this perspective that Japan supports AUKUS.

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“I believe that Australia’s acquisition of nuclear submarines is also an important initiative for the security of the Indo-Pacific.”

Mr Hayashi believes the Quadrilateral Dialogue plays a “central role” in promoting “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Note: Greg Sheridan is The Australian's foreign editor. His most recent book, Christians, the urgent case for Jesus in our world, became a best seller weeks after publication. It makes the case for the historical rel... Read more

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Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

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