China has reportedly issued a stern warning against Japan that sets a “red line,” saying it should not send its Self-Defense Forces in the disputed maritime zone in the South China Sea to join U.S. forces.
According to a report from Japan Times, the warning was issued by Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua against a top Japanese official, days before the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague issued the ruling over the maritime dispute filed by the Philippines against China.
South China Sea War
Cheng said Japan would be crossing a line should they decide to send its SDF and participate with the on-going freedom of navigation campaign headed by the United States. The Chinese ambassador even hinted of possible military action should Japan act upon it, Japan Times reported.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) virtually declared China’s claim over almost the entire South China Sea as illegal and without legal basis, including its self-imposed nine-dash rule. But China insists that it won’t participate in the arbitration nor recognize the ruling of the court.
The Japanese government has no plans of participating in the freedom of navigation, which was initiated by the U.S. to ensure freedom to sail in the vast maritime zone. But the report noted that Japan might actually send SDF ships to guard ships of the U.S. Navy conducting patrols in the region, under Japan’s security law.
Don’t Cross The Line
Learning lessons from the World War II, the Japanese constitution disallows Japan from starting and joining a war. But it does not prohibit military actions that aim to enhance and protect its sovereignty.
Cheng said any that “joint military action with U.S. forces that is aimed at excluding China in the South China Sea,” could end up in a conflict in the region. He added that China will not back down and “is not afraid of military provocations,” should that happen.