Tokyo: The US will extend complete support to Japan against Chinese intrusions within its marine limits, assured Commander of US Forces in Japan Lt Gen Kevin Schneider. In the last year, incursions of Chinese ships and planes in the East China Sea have significantly risen. The Chinese activities may sharply surge considering their current movements. The US has stepped up its operations against it and remarks of General Schneider only affirm the US stance.
The world is engaged in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic, and the Chinese Communist Party has thus ratcheted up its efforts to fulfil its expansionist ambitions. For that, China has increased its military deployments in various parts as also is attempting intrusions in contested areas. The country is consistently carrying out incursions with the help of its warships, fighter jets, submarines and patrol ships. Last month, a Chinese submarine was making dangerous moves in the Japanese waters near Oshima Island.
According to Japanese agencies, Chinese patrol vessels are repeatedly carrying out intrusions in Japan’s territorial waters in the East China Sea. Before that, the Chinese ships would return within hours of violating Japan’s maritime limits. However, China appears to have deliberately extended this intrusion period. Between March 2019 and this year, Chinese vessels and fighters have attempted intrusions into Japan’s territorial waters over 900 times, informed the Japanese army. Japanese analysts believe China’s increased aggression was aimed at consolidating its claim over the East China Sea and Senkaku Islands.
The US Commander has asserted the incursions may surge again soon. The Chinese agencies have imposed restrictions on its fishing boats till August. Besides, the Commander underscored that when the restrictions are lifted, these ships along with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) coastguard and naval vessels, would once again try to storm the East China Sea near the Senkaku Islands. The United States is 100% absolutely steadfast in its commitment to help the government of Japan with the situation in Senkaku, assured Lt Gen Schneider. Also, ‘The US would keep its commitment 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no deviation in that regard’, added the Commander.
More than 80 US military bases are operational in Japan. US warships, numerous fighter jets and over 54,000 soldiers are deployed at the stations. As per a deal between the US and Japan, the US reserves the right to retaliate to any major threat posed to the Island-nation’s security. Given the circumstances, warning issued by US Commander against China’s growing aggression thereby assumes much significance.
Simultaneously, the US and Japan have also signed an agreement to support the upgradation of Japanese fighter jets. The deal was inked between US’ Boeing and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. As per the agreement, the Japanese F-15J Eagle Interceptor fleet will be equipped with radars, electronic warfare capabilities as well as advanced missiles. Of the 200 F-15J interceptors from Japan’s air force, 100 will receive the upgrade, sources informed. Moreover, Japan has already made a deal with the US for purchase of over 140 F-35 fighter jets to counter Chinese aggression.