Japan accuses China of pushing territorial claims during coronavirus pandemic

By Tim Kelly TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's annual defence review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19. China 'is continuing to attempt to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea,' Japan said in the defence white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government on Tuesday

Reuters July 14, 2020 07:11:56 IST
Japan accuses China of pushing territorial claims during coronavirus pandemic

coronavirus pandemic" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/07-2020/14/2020-07-14T012336Z_1_LYNXNPEG6D01R_RTROPTP_2_CHINA-POLITICS.jpg" alt="Japan accuses China of pushing territorial claims during coronavirus pandemic" width="300" height="225" />

By Tim Kelly

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's annual defence review accuses China of pushing its territorial claims amid the coronavirus pandemic and suspects Beijing of spreading propaganda and disinformation as it provides medical aid to nations fighting COVID-19 .

China "is continuing to attempt to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea," Japan said in the defence white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government on Tuesday.

The white paper described "relentless" intrusions in waters around a group of islets claimed by both nations in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, it said Beijing was asserting territorial claims by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands, that forced countries distracted by the coronavirus outbreak to respond.

Japan's criticism of China echoes similar comments made by the United States, and comes as tension in the region increases as Beijing and Washington conduct separate military drills in the resource-rich South China Sea and as relations between the world's two largest economies deteriorated.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday rejected China's disputed claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, saying they were "completely unlawful".

Beijing insists its intentions in the waterway, through which around $3 trillion of global trade passes each year, are peaceful.

Japan sees China as a longer-term and more serious threat than nuclear-armed North Korea. Beijing now spends four times as much as Tokyo on defence as it builds a large modern military.

Japan's defence review also claimed China appeared to be responsible for "propaganda" and "disinformation" amid "social uncertainties and confusion" caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Such disinformation included online claims that the coronavirus was brought to China by a U.S. military member, or that Chinese herbal remedies could treat COVID-19 , a defence ministry official said at a briefing.

Other threats faced by Japan include North Korea's ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as well as a resurgence of military activity by Russia in the skies and waters in Japan, at times in joint drills with China, the defence review said.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Michael Perry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Guinea president 'captured', govt dissolved, claim army putschists'; attack on presidential palace repulsed, say authorities
World

Guinea president 'captured', govt dissolved, claim army putschists'; attack on presidential palace repulsed, say authorities

Reports suggest that they captured President Alpha Conde and dissolved the government, bust the ground situation remains unclear

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up
News & Analysis

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The price of cryptocurrencies plunged and crypto trading was delayed on Tuesday, a day in which El Salvador ran into snags as the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Shares of blockchain-related firms also fell as crypto stocks were hit by trading platform outages. But the major focus was on El Salvador, where the government had to temporarily unplug a digital wallet to cope with demand.

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field
News & Analysis

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field

By Joseph White and Sanjana Shivdas (Reuters) -The head of Apple Inc's car project, Doug Field, is going to work for Ford Motor Co to lead the automaker's advanced technology and embedded systems efforts, a hiring coup for Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley.