The relationship between the People’s Liberation Army and
the Communist Party is becoming more complicated as China’s
military modernizes, becomes more professional and undertakes a
wider variety of duties, the Defense Ministry said in a white
paper today. A more professional military could be tougher for
civilians to control, Toshinori Tanaka, director of the
Strategic Intelligence Analysis Office, told Bloomberg News.
“The decision-making process has become less clear and
that makes it more difficult to deal with,” Tanaka said.
Focus on China’s expanding military has sharpened this year
with a dispute erupting over rights to a group of uninhabited
islands in the East China Sea after Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara unveiled plans to buy them. In May, China canceled a
visit to Japan by a top general, Guo Boxiong.
Japan’s central government has offered to buy three of the
disputed islands for 2 billion yen ($25.6 million), the Sankei
newspaper reported today. The private Japanese owner refused the
offer, saying he prefers to sell the land to the Tokyo
metropolitan government, the newspaper said. Chief Cabinet
Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters today that the report
was incorrect, and declined to comment on the status of talks
with the owner.
An editorial in the China Daily newspaper today said
Japan’s claims to the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and
Diaoyu in Chinese, “do not hold water.”
“Some people have pointed out that in recent years there
have been an increasing number of cases where the PLA has taken
a clear stance on security issues,” the Defense Ministry said.
“On the other hand, it has been pointed out that the number of
representatives of the armed forces in the decision-making
bodies of the Chinese Communist Party has been falling.”
Defense Councilor Yasuhisa Ishizuka told reporters that the
ministry had no official position on whether the influence of
the military is growing or fading.
Japan reiterated its concern about the lack of transparency
in China’s defense spending, which it said has grown 30-fold
over the past 24 years. China is also expanding its ocean-based
military presence, while intelligence-gathering missions have
been observed in waters close to Japan, the report said.
Japan’s claim to a group of islets controlled by South
Korea, included in the report every year since 2005, sparked an
The South Korean Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its
website saying it “strongly protests” the claim and calling
for an immediate correction.
The white paper also highlighted plans by Japan’s ally the
U.S. to step up focus on Asia.
“Recognizing that many of its security and economic
interests are closely linked to development in Asia, the U.S. is
placing more importance on the Asia-Pacific and strengthening
ties with its allies in the region,” the report said.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Peter Hirschberg at