China’s growing assertiveness and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are creating an “increasingly severe” security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan’s defense ministry stated Tuesday in its annual defense white paper.
The 429-page document also comments on multiple conflicts affecting the international community, which reflects the ruling government’s repeated statements in favor of playing a larger role in global security affairs.
The document leads off with the most pressing regional concerns in recent years, devoting its first chapter to North Korea and its longest section to China.
“China, particularly over maritime issues, continues to act in an assertive manner, including coercive attempts at changing the status quo, and is poised to fulfill its unilateral demands without compromise,” according to the document.
In 2013, China unilaterally imposed an Air Defense Identification Zone over the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands. U.S. and Japanese forces have largely disregarded China’s demands for flight plans within the identification zone. Chinese ships have also faced off with several other nations in the South China Sea, where the country has been building artificial islands capable of supporting military assets.