Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Abe’s self-defense faces obstacles

By Richard Halloran

Moreover, he questioned the capacity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to control the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which encompasses all of the country’s military forces. US officers with access to intelligence reports have raised similar questions.

Kitaoka said it is also difficult for Chinese to speak out against their government.

Meanwhile, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onoder issued a joint communique with US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in which the US “welcomed Japan’s determination to contribute more proactively to regional and global peace, and security.”

In the most forthright affirmation of the US-Japan alliance seen in years, Washington “reiterated its commitment to collaborate closely with Japan.”

Kerry and Hagel applauded Abe’s plans to assert Japan’s right to collective self-defense, to expand its defense budget and to strengthen the defense of its sovereign territory.

In particular, the officials agreed that the US-Japan defense guidelines — last revised in 1997 — would be brought up to date, given the changes in Asia in recent years, notably the emergence of Chinese power and the threat of nuclear attack by North Korea.

In sum, Japan and the US agreed on where they want to go, but not on how to get there, faced with the vehement objections of some Japanese and many people in China and South Korea.

Richard Halloran is a commentator based in Hawaii.

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