China's national parade day held on Oct. 01 showcased hypersonic missiles, stealth drones, and fifth-generation fighters, a move that has produced "global anxiety" about Beijing rising as a global superpower, Japan's defense minister told the Financial Times (FT).
Defense Minister Taro Kono sat down with FT in an exclusive interview this week to discuss the geopolitical shifts in the East/South China Sea, Sea of Japan, and across the broader Pacific region.
Kono warned China has developed and deployed advanced weapons, something that has sparked fear with surrounding countries.
He made it clear that Tokyo won't permit Washington to install intermediate-range missiles across Japan, a move that would be too dangerous and risk the island country into a period of worsening ties with China.
Kono's comments remind us all that geopolitical tensions in the Eastern Hemisphere are elevated, and Tokyo is playing a delicate balancing act of pleasing Washington but trying not to upset Beijing.
"[China's] budget, doctrine, weapon systems, the whereabouts of their weapon systems and their organization are not transparent," Kono said. "We have been urging them to explain . . . but we really haven't seen an improvement in their transparency. So, these new weapons systems simply add to global anxiety."
China's advanced military weapons were showcased to the world last month as the country prepares to surpass the US as the number one global superpower in the next decade.
At the current rate, Beijing's ambitions of unraveling Pax Americana could be likely. Still, Washington has struck back with an economic war to limit China's ascension, which of course, has forced global tensions/uncertainties to near-record highs.
Kono said that Tokyo is modernizing its forces by unveiling new military hardware, expanding cyberspace capabilities, and strengthening its defense industrial base.
He added that Tokyo would continue purchasing Lockheed Martin F-35s from the US but is also preparing to develop a domestic fifth-generation fighter in the early 2020s.
The Pentagon has spent the last several years building an F-35 friends circle around China, effectively surrounding the country with stealth fighter jets.
The trend at play is called Thucydides Trap. This is when a rising power (China) threatens to displace the status quo power (the US) -- and is primarily the reason why China is building up its defense because it senses a shooting war with the US is inevitable.
As for Kono's comments, he too knows the fate of the world in the next decade, and it's one where China and the US could duke it out.