Saturday, October 18, 2014

• Top Japanese General Says The US Needs To Be Ready To Confront Chinese Aggression In East Asia

General Kiyohumi Iwata said the US and Japan should coordinate on countermeasures to potential attacks on the Senkaku islands, and develop plans to recapture the islands in case China invades - By Richard Sisk

In stark contrast to White House policy, a top Japanese general on Tuesday said the US military rebalance of forces to the Pacific should confront Chinese aggression in the region.
Japanese Gen. 

Gen. Kiyohumi Iwata, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force chief of staff, was given a tour and briefing of the Brig. Gen. Crawford F. Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic by its commander, Col. Vivian Hutson, during a visit there Nov. 19.

Kiyofumi Iwata, chief of staff of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force, said that "some countries want to change the status quo by force" in the region.

"This is a reality we must face up to," Iwata said.
He then made clear his intent with a reference to China's declaration late last year of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea to include Japanese Senkakus islands. China warned at the time that aircraft passing through the ADIZ without identifying themselves could be subject to "emergency measures."

Iwata said the US and Japan should coordinate on "countermeasures to potential attacks" on the islands, and also develop plans "to recapture the islands in case China invades."

Iwata's blunt remarks contrasted with those of Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of the US Army Pacific, and Scot Maciel, principal assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at a forum on the Asia-Pacific rebalance at the
Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting and exposition in Washington, DC. Maciel said it was wrong to view the so-called "Pacific pivot" as a "rebalance against China." 

The US goal was to have China as a partner in the rebalance, Maciel said. 
Brooks stressed that the multilateral efforts of the Army under the "Pacific Pathways" concept was to forge closer relations in the region through joint exercises with the militaries of states in the region. Iwata focused on Japan's view of China as a threat to the rebalance. 

Speaking in English and reading from a prepared statement, Iwata said that the U.S. and Japan had "learned the lesson of bitter experience" in World War II to become allies under a treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1952.

The treaty was a "priceless fortune" committing the allies to mutual defense against an aggressor, Iwata said, and the treaty was enhanced last December by Japan's adoption of its first "National Security Strategy" aimed at shaking off the restrictions of its pacifist Constitution.

The strategy approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted that "Japan is vigilant against China's activities in the East and South China Seas to change the status quo based on claims that are inconsistent with international law."

Under the plan, Japan would spend $240 billion over the next five years on new equipment for the military to include 17
MV-22 Ospreys, 28 F-35 fighters, three unarmedGlobal Hawk drones, and 52 amphibious troop carriers to shore up the offensive capability of its Self-Defense Forces.