Papers in China criticize the US for pursuing closer military ties with Japan and Vietnam.

Ties between China and Japan have been strained in recent months over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

According to reports, Japan and the United States are revising their mutual defence guidelines to pursue a wider partnership.

The US, in an interim report released on Wednesday, said that the new guidelines “are in response to new threats extant in the world and to a new willingness of Japan to embrace a greater role in the world”.

Responding to the report, an article in the Liberation Army Daily warns the US is “inviting calamities by nurturing a tiger”.

“By requesting Tokyo to support its military actions, the US is still sticking to the old arrangement of Japan taking instructions,” notes the article written by Liu Qiang, a strategic expert at the Liberation Army Institute for International Relations.

Japan may become the “destroyer of peace” because it feels threatened and wants to expand its military, and Washington may not be able to control it, he cautions.

“If Washington is not on its guard against Tokyo’s military development and continues to allow it to expand, the US may not be able to control its development effectively in the future. By turning a blind eye to Japan’s actions, Washington is inviting trouble, and that is worrisome,” he adds.

A commentary in the People’s Daily overseas edition points out that the US and Japan are treating China as an “imagery enemy”.

“The idea of sharing hegemony between Washington and Tokyo is secretly developing. With the permission of the US, Japan may become a new international police…Such dangerous development is worrying many countries,” it says, warning that the alliance will instead “increase distrust and worsen conflicts” in the region.

Chen Yan, an expert on Japan affairs with the Qianjiang Evening News, however, points out that the new guidelines will not affect China.

“The US will not confront China because of Japan, and in reality, Japan will not want to go to war with China too. Both are only putting up a gesture to pressurise China,” he argues.

Defence capability

Meanwhile, several state-run media outlets, including Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily website, have published photos of a completed airport runway and ongoing construction works on Yongxing Island (Woody Island), the largest of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam are two of several nations currently engaged in territorial disputes with China over the islands.

Several other media outlets note that the completion of the 2,000m-long runway will allow military jet to station, and “it will hugely raise China’s defence capability in the Spratly and Paracel Islands”.

Elsewhere, some state-run media outlets criticise US-Vietnam ties as Washington eases its ban on arm sales to Hanoi.

The US announced last week that it would partially lift its decades-old embargo on providing lethal military support to Vietnam to help improve its maritime security.

“Hanoi is looking to the US for support in its maritime territorial dispute with China, especially since tensions between Vietnam and China escalated earlier this year amid a dispute over China’s oil drilling operations in the South China Sea,” notes an article in the China Daily.

However, the commentary reminds the Southeast Asia state that “it is only one small piece on the US’ strategic rebalancing chessboard” and there is “deep acrimony and distrust” between the two countries.

“Besides, both need to be mindful that their strengthened military ties do not compromise each country’s relationship with Beijing. After all, a head-on confrontation in the South China Sea would serve no one’s interests,” it warns.

By BBC MONITOR October 9, 2014 in BBC