June 23, 2022 at 13:28 JST
In this photo released by the Xinhua News Agency, colored smoke marks the launch ceremony for China's third aircraft carrier, christened the Fujian, at a dry dock in Shanghai on June 17. (Xinhua via AP)
China is trying to alter the regional military balance in an irresponsible and unilateral manner that does not befit its status as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
Unless it stops its dangerous military buildup, China cannot claim to be a responsible major power.
China recently launched its third aircraft carrier, christened the Fujian. The ship is expected to enter service in 2024 or later after a period of test sailing and installing the necessary equipment.
Due to training and maintenance times, a country needs a minimum of three aircraft carriers to ensure that at least one vessel is always in operation. The Fujian is likely to enhance the Chinese Navy’s strategic capabilities.
According to Beijing’s announcement, China’s new aircraft carrier also features an electromagnetic catapult to hurl aircraft off the ship at high speed, the very latest aircraft launch technology, so far seen only on the new USS Gerald R. Ford. If this is true, China is rapidly catching up with the United States in terms of military technology.
The Chinese Communist Party has set a goal of building the world’s leading military by the mid-21st century. The country is apparently bent on overtaking the United States in military power.
China’s rapid military expansion in recent years has aroused strong anxiety and suspicion among neighboring countries.
Beijing’s efforts to beef up the country’s military muscles, even if they are supported by many Chinese citizens, inevitably lead to friction and tension with other countries.
China’s military ambitions have been the principal destabilizing factor for the security environment in the Indo-Pacific region.
The order that has maintained stability in the international community during the period since the end of World War II is now in serious crisis due to a confluence of factors, including Russia’s outrageous aggression against Ukraine.
If a nuclear power is allowed to use its superior military might to violate another country’s sovereignty and territory, the security of many countries will be fundamentally imperiled.
For decades, China has been expanding its economy and boosting its national power under the existing order while promising the world to seek peaceful development. As such a country, China should remain committed to playing a role that contributes to maintaining that order.
To our great dismay, however, the Chinese Communist Party has not even criticized Russia’s war of aggression while continuing its military buildup as if being unaware of concerns among neighboring countries.
In menacing saber-rattling, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning recently flew dozens of sorties for days on end in a series of drills in the Pacific off the east coast of Taiwan.
In joint Chinese-Russian naval exercises, a flotilla of warships of the two countries completed a near circle around Japan's main islands.
There have also been news reports that China has sought military cooperation from island nations in the South Pacific and is getting involved in Cambodia’s plans to expand its naval bases.
Beijing has not offered any detailed explanation about these moves, which are disturbingly opaque.
It is hardly surprising that the international community is growing increasingly wary of China’s ambitions.
There is no winner in an arms race driven by deepening mutual distrust. If tensions spiral out of control and trigger an armed conflict, the upshot will be pure destruction.
Chinese leaders should have a clear and strong recognition of the dangerous implications of their government’s provocative behavior.
--The Asahi Shimbun, June 23
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