China and Japan have kicked off their first formal security talks in four years, with Chinese officials expressing concern over Tokyo’s military buildup and Japanese diplomats taking aim at Beijing’s close ties with Russia and its suspected use of surveillance balloons.
The talks which are aimed at easing tensions come amid Japan’s worries that China may resort to force to take control of Taiwan in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine – a move that could lead to a wider conflict embroiling Tokyo and the United States, and disrupt global trade.
Japan in December said it would double defence spending over the next five years to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – a total of $320bn – to deter China from resorting to military action. Tokyo also plans to acquire longer-range missiles that could strike mainland China and stock up on other munitions necessary to sustain a conflict alongside the large force from the US that Japan hosts.
According to Al Jazeera, China increased defence spending by 7.1 percent last year, which is more than four times as much as Japan.