Japan said on Thursday China’s military intentions are unclear and the rapid expansion of its armed forces is of grave concern, Reuters is reporting.
“China has been beefing up its military capacity very rapidly and we are not sure what the Chinese intentions are,” Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told the European Parliament’s security and defence sub-committee by video link. “And we are seriously concerned with this.”
Kishi told EU lawmakers that China’s ballistic missiles, its decision to increase its defence budget to four times that of Japan and its militarisation of islands in the South China Sea need to be “observed vigilantly to preserve peace”.
He called for Beijing to explain why it is rapidly developing its air force, now the third-largest in the world according to US Department of Defense data.
He added that Europe, the US and other Asian nations should come together to stand up to Beijing.
Nato leaders on Monday said for the first time that China’s rise presents “systemic challenges”.
US President Joe Biden’s eight-day trip to Europe and talks with Nato countries focused on rallying support for an American strategy to contain rising Chinese power.
China’s mission to the EU rebuked Nato and claimed Beijing is “committed to a defence policy that is defensive in nature”.
China now has the world’s largest navy, with a greater number of warships and submarines than the US, the world’s foremost military power, according to the US data, based on 2019 developments.
China also has more than 1,250 ground-launched ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km, a longer range than the US.
The US is bound by arms control agreements with Russia that China is not subject to.