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International relations

China poses a 'security threat' to Japan, Taro Kono says

Washington and Tokyo alone can't keep Beijing from rule-breaking: defense chief

A Japanese Air Self-Defense Force E-2C Hawkeye aircraft crew chief from the 601st Squadron, Airborne Early Warning Group out of Misawa Air Base, Japan, directs an aircraft to a parking spot at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam during a joint exercise. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense) 

TOKYO -- Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono struck a hawkish tone on China in remarks Wednesday, warning that Beijing may try to expand its maritime militarization to the East China Sea.

"When I was foreign minister, I was very careful in not saying China is a threat ... but as defense minister, I must say China has become a security threat to Japan," Kono told an online forum marking 60 years of the U.S.-Japan alliance, hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and sponsored by Nikkei.

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