Beijing-Tokyo ties 'unlikely to recover soon'

Beijing-Tokyo ties 'unlikely to recover soon'

Sino-Japanese relations are unlikely to improve anytime soon if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's speech to his country's parliament on Tuesday is any indication, a Chinese expert said.

In a speech opening the Japanese parliament's extra session, Abe pledged to push forward with his plans to bolster Japan's defence in the face of what he called an "increasingly insecure environment".

Abe said he will establish a security council within his office that will be a diplomatic and defence command centre, a move lawmakers are expected to approve during the 53-day session.

Abe said Japanese coast guard officers and Self-Defence Forces deployed around the Diaoyu Islands are "facing 'reality' in this instant of time and we must not look away from this 'reality', which shows the security environment is growing increasingly severe," Kyodo News reported.

Hu Jiping, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the Abe administration is using China as an excuse to justify its military buildup.

"Abe's aggressive stance on security issues will do no good to ties with China," Hu said. "I don't see that Abe has a desire to mend Japan's relationship with China."

Abe also seeks to allow Japanese defence troops to fight when its allies are attacked, which would require reinterpreting the war-renouncing Article 9 of the country's pacifist Constitution. The move is a reversal of the stance of previous administrations.

"As global interdependency deepens, Japan can no longer protect its own peace without actively fulfilling its responsibility to global peace and stability," Abe said in the speech.

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