In its annual defense review, Japan has accused China of Taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and push its territorial claims in the East China Sea.
China “is continuing to attempt to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea,” Japan said in the defense white paper approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on July 14.
The report further said that there have been “relentless” intrusions in the areas around the Senkaku islands as called by Japan or Diaoyu in China.
Besides, in recent days, China has been asserting its claims in the South China Sea by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands while the neighbouring countries have been busy with dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
Chinese intrusions in the South China Sea have not only been condemned by Japan but also by the US which is also conducting military drills in the region.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected China’s disputed claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, saying they were “completely unlawful”.
After the 36th ASEAN summit, a joint statement was issued by the members of the bloc expressing concerns over the current situation in the South China Sea.
The ASEAN leaders stressed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and over-flight above the South China Sea, as well as upholding international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, in the South China Sea, working actively towards the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.