China said Friday it was "firmly opposed" to and "strongly dissatisfied" with Japan's newly updated key defense-related documents, which describe Beijing as "the greatest strategic challenge" ever for Tokyo and lodged solemn representations with its neighbor.
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo said Japan's move "seriously deviates from the basic facts" and "provokes regional tension and confrontation." It urged Japan not to be obsessed with using the so-called China threat to indulge in its own military expansion.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin also said Friday at a press conference in Beijing that China urges Japan to "act upon the political consensus that the two countries are cooperative partners and do not pose a threat to each other."
"Hyping up the 'China threat' to find an excuse for its military buildup is doomed to fail," Wang said.
Japan will allocate about 43 trillion yen ($315 billion) for defense budgets over five years from fiscal 2023, setting the target of boosting yearly defense spending to around 2 percent of gross domestic product in fiscal 2027.
One of the updated documents also says that China poses a "threat to residents of the region" in reference to five Chinese ballistic missiles that fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone during large-scale military drills near Taiwan in August.
The exercises were conducted in response to a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy also said Beijing's position on the Japan-controlled, Beijing-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, as well as Taiwan-related issues is "clear and firm" and argued that taking relevant measures is "entirely within the scope of China's sovereignty." It urged Tokyo not to "point fingers or make trouble."
China frequently dispatches its vessels near the Senkakus and has increased military pressure on the self-ruled democratic island, which Beijing regards as its own.
On Wednesday, the Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with China's ruling Communist Party, said in an editorial that Japanese authorities are increasingly inclined to treat China as a "threat" and warned against "creating a crazy vicious circle" in which the two Asian neighbors treat each other as adversaries.
The paper also said Tokyo's decision to acquire the capability to strike enemy bases written into the new security strategy actually points to its intention to develop the offensive capabilities of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and that many people even believe Japan's pacifist Constitution exists only in name.