China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday asked for heightened vigilance of Japan's latest attempt to increase its defense budget, saying that changes to Japan's military and security policy are closely watched by its neighbors and the international community.
Commenting on Thursday reports that Japan's Ministry of Defense had made a record budget request for the fiscal year 2018. If approved, it would be the sixth annual increase since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe retook office in 2012.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said that in recent years, Japan had made persistently misleading statements over the so-called "China threat," while increasing its own defense budget and introducing new security laws.
"The Japanese side should clarify its intentions to the international community," she said.
"We hope the Japanese side will pay attention to its neighbors' security concerns and be cautious in military and security fields," said Hua.
According to reports, Japanese Defense Ministry's budget request, up by 2.5% from this year's initial budget, totaled 5.26 trillion yen (47.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the fiscal year starting from April, 2018.