Japan PM says country will be “more assertive” toward China

BY Ivette Feliciano  October 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM EST


Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after delivering his policy speech at the lower house of parliament in Tokyo on Oct. 15, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/Toru Hanai

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan is ready to be more assertive toward China.

Japan should take the lead in guarding against what might be an attempt by China to use force to attain its diplomatic goals, Abe said.

From the WSJ:

There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully.

After recent meetings with South East Asian leaders, Abe said he realized the region sought leadership from Tokyo in terms of security amid China’s more forthright diplomacy.

A spokesperson for the Chinese defense ministry called Japan’s rhetoric belligerent and deliberately provocative and warned countries not to underestimate China’s resolve to take whatever measures were needed to protect itself.

Read more on the subject, including a look at the disputed islands in the East China Sea, from Reuters.