Ulterior motives in Japan's radar targeting allegations

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Ulterior motives are at play regarding Japanese allegations that Chinese warships targeted Japanese vessels using fire-control radar, Chinese scholars said Saturday.

Japan has spread such accusations since Feb. 5, which were made to mislead international public opinion, according to China's defense ministry.

The ungrounded accusations have tarnished China's image, scholars said, adding that Japan should earnestly follow the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship and settle problems through dialogue.

The accusations represent a fabricated rumor that aimed at creating tension, scholars agreed.

Japan's motive is to link a sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyu Islands with a possible Chinese military threat in order to convince the world that China is responsible for causing the tensions, said Gao Hong, an expert on Japan studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"The background for such allegations is that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is going to visit the United States and he wants the U.S. to take sides," Gao said, adding that Japan hopes to hype the issue so that the U.S. will make a clear effort to support Japan.

By making such accusations, the Abe administration hopes to create domestic political tension, win public support for tough diplomatic policies and attain Abe's political goals, Gao said.

Liu Jiangyong, a professor of international studies at Tsinghua University, said the Abe administration aims to obtain public support for its tough China policy and its plan to strengthen the Japanese military.

"By spreading false allegations, they aim to gain the upper hand in Sino-Japan relations, exert pressure on China regarding the Diaoyu Islands and defame China," said Liu.

By creating the rumor, Japan is also paving the way for future revisions of its defense policy guidelines in order to enhance its military power, Liu said.

"Japan should not play such petty tricks. It is not a good move," said Xu Dunxin, former Chinese ambassador to Japan.

Abe wants to get U.S. support regarding the Diaoyu Islands dispute, as he will visit the U.S. soon, Xu said, adding that the allegations will help Japan obtain U.S. support.

On Feb. 5, Japan's defense ministry said that a Chinese navy frigate directed its fire-control radar at a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer in the East China Sea around 10 a.m. on Jan. 30.

The Japanese side also said that a Chinese frigate is suspected of using a similar radar to target a MSDF helicopter on Jan. 19 in the East China Sea.

"At 4 p.m. on Jan. 19, a Chinese naval frigate, while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea, spotted an approaching ship-borne helicopter belonging to the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF)," the Ministry of National Defense said in a Friday statement.

The statement said the frigate's ship-borne radar was used to maintain normal observation and was on alert, although the fire-control radar was not used.

"At 9 a.m. on Jan. 30, a Chinese naval ship found itself closely followed and monitored by JSDF destroyer Yudachi while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea. The ship-borne radar on the Chinese naval ship was used to keep normal observation and was on alert. Fire-control radar was not used," said the statement.

"The Japanese side's remarks go against the facts," it added.

The statement pointed out that "Japanese warships and airplanes have often conducted long- and close-range monitoring and surveillance over Chinese naval ships and airplanes in recent years."

During a daily news briefing on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying described Japan's allegations as "a sheer fabrication."

Gao said bilateral military and security cooperation is highly sensitive and requires mutual trust, which itself requires the strengthening of both political and economic exchanges, as well as strong domestic support.

"Currently, the biggest hurdle is that the Abe administration lacks willingness to remedy its mistakes," Gao said.

The Chinese side has always been restrained and taken a responsible attitude since the Japanese side triggered Diaoyu Islands dispute last year, he said.

China has always behaved responsibly and has deepened its research in order to distinguish between right and wrong, Gao said, adding that China's practices have been "appropriate."

"I hope China's responsible attitude will ease tension between the two countries," he said.

Liu said this year marks the 35th anniversary of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.


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