China denounces Japan plans top increase military defence spending

China has said it is 'firmly opposed' to Japanese five-year defence plan

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The Independent Online

China's military has denounced Japan's plans to increase defence spending, accusing Tokyo of raising regional tensions and of military expansion using the pretext of safeguarding its own national security.

Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement posted early on Saturday on the ministry website that China resolutely opposes the five-year defence plan approved by Japan on Tuesday, arguing that it will increase regional tensions, state news agency Xinhua has reported.

Mr Geng said: "China is firmly opposed to Japan's relevant actions."

According to the news agency, Mr Geng questioned where Japan's military and security policy is going, and said it "causes great concerns from Japan's Asian neighbors and international society".

Under the arrangement, Japan said it would purchase its first surveillance drones, as well as more jet fighters and naval destroyers, and establish an amphibious unit similar to the US Marines.

The revised defence plans are based on the new national security strategy that reflects prime minister Shinzo Abe's drive to raise the profile of Japan's military and for the country to play a bigger international role.

China's strongly worded statement reflects the increasingly hawkish stance taken by its military amid a bitter dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Geng accused Japan of maintaining a "Cold War mentality" that runs counter to the trends of peaceful development, cooperation and mutual benefit.