Japan defense chief: China not threat
Updated: 2006-09-30 07:17
TOKYO - Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said on Friday that China's
military was a concern rather than a threat, retracting earlier comments that
had triggered a rebuttal from Beijing.
Tokyo and Beijing are making efforts
to resume meetings between their leaders, which had been halted during the
tenure of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi due to his annual visits to a
Tokyo shrine seen by China and South Korea as a symbol of Japan's past
Minister Fumio Kyuma arrives at newly-elected Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo September 26, 2006.
Kyuma, who was appointed on Tuesday by the new prime minister, Shinzo Abe,
said that China did not pose a threat, as Beijing did not have an intent to
"I want to make clear that I am not spreading a view that China is a threat,"
Kyuma told a news conference, adding that he was correcting his remarks from
Wednesday when he had referred to China's military as a threat.
On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang denied that its
military was posing a threat to Japan, adding: "This defense minister is newly
appointed, so we hope he familiarizes himself with China's stance and policies."
But Kyuma said China needed to increase the transparency of its military
capabilities, adding: "Otherwise, the Japanese people would have concerns."
Japanese politicians, including Foreign Minister Taro Aso, have said China's
military was a threat, and a think tank linked to the Defense Agency has called
it a "major destabilizing factor" in the region, but Tokyo's official line is
that it does not pose a threat.
Chinese leaders had refused to meet Koizumi, protesting his visits to the
Yasukuni Shrine, which honours some wartime leaders convicted as war criminal
along with Japan's war dead.