‘Red line’: China warned Japan against joining US freedom of navigation stunts

Monday, August 22, 2016
By Paul Martin

22 Aug, 2016

Beijing warned Tokyo of a harsh response if it ever crossed a “red line” in deciding to sail with US warships near disputed waters surrounding China’s artificially reclaimed islands under the pretext of the Freedom of Navigation principle, Japanese media reported.

The warning to Japan reportedly came just ahead of the Hague international arbitration court’s ruling over the disputed South China Sea islands which Beijing continues to claim, despite a verdict which stripped China of the disputed territory.

Tokyo will “cross a red line” if Japan’s Self-Defense Forces sail with the Americans, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua allegedly told a Japanese official in Tokyo, Kyodo reported citing a source.

Japan should not take part in a “joint military action with US forces that is aimed at excluding China in the South China Sea,” Cheng is reported to have told Japanese officials late in June. “(China) will not concede on sovereignty issues and is not afraid of military provocations.”

According to the source, the official reassured the ambassador that Japan had no plans to join the US sails, which have intensified lately by constant American warship maneuvering near artificial islands that China has built in the South China Sea.

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