Security laws out of sync in peacetime: China

Ruling party's lawmakers clap their hands after the upper house of Japan's parliament approve security bills during the plenary session at the Upper House of the parliament in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept 19, 2015.
Ruling party's lawmakers clap their hands after the upper house of Japan's parliament approve security bills during the plenary session at the Upper House of the parliament in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept 19, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

China has slammed Tokyo's new security laws that could see Japan's Self-Defence Forces engage in conflict overseas for the first time since World War II as being "out of sync with the current era of peace, development and cooperation".

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei, in a statement early yesterday morning after the Bills were passed in Tokyo, said the move has sparked suspicions globally on whether Japan has abandoned its policy of self-defence and its post-war path of peaceful development.

 "We urge Japan to listen to the voice of justice domestically and internationally, value the security concerns of Asian neighbours, stick to the path of peaceful development, act cautiously on military and security matters, and adopt practical actions to ensure regional peace and stability, instead of doing the opposite," said Mr Hong.

Separately, China's defence ministry said the new laws marked an unprecedented change in Japan's security policy and has sparked strong worries among its neighbours and the international community.

"We will be monitoring closely Japan's next moves," it added in a statement yesterday.

China has often expressed dissatisfaction with the level of remorse expressed by Japanese governments, especially the current government of Premier Shinzo Abe, over the country's wartime actions.

China, which bore the brunt of Japan's WWII aggression, has also voiced concerns over what it sees as Japan's remilitarisation through moves to expand its military options. The new laws allow Japan's military to help its allies in a conflict that also threatens Japan's survival.

An editorial yesterday in the nationalistic Global Times tabloid, which is linked to the Chinese Communist Party, said the security laws are part of ongoing efforts by Tokyo and its security ally Washington to counter Beijing amid their anxieties over China's rise.

"But as the United States is the driving force of the US-Japan alliance and Western Pacific matters are dependent on the Sino-US relationship, Japan has no ability to change the developments and there is no hope of the new security Bills being used as a whip against China."

The editorial, reposted on the website of party mouthpiece People's Daily with the headline, "Abe has planted the seeds of trouble by pushing through the security Bills", also said Japan needs to remove US troops now based on its soil to become a truly normal country. "Until then, Japan will always be a dog or horse under America's leash, or perhaps a tiger, depending on its capability," it added.

"In the face of its provocations, the only thing we can do is to strengthen ourselves and ensure that our development exceed Japan's agitation ."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 20, 2015, with the headline 'Security laws out of sync in peacetime: China'. Print Edition | Subscribe