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Moscow apparently has a different view of the preamble.

ITAR-Tass, the main Russian government information agency, reported last week: “The treaty will have a legally binding provision on the link between strategic offensive and defensive weapons and will affirm the increasing importance of this link amid the reduction of strategic offensive weapons.”

Several Republican-authored amendments to the treaty that sought to alter the preamble were voted down, based in part on assertions that the preamble had no legal standing.

Japanese defense buildup

Japan’s government on Dec. 17 approved guidelines for building up its military forces in the face of growing threats from China and North Korea.

A summary of the program guidelines states that a “global shift in the balance of power has been brought about by the rise of emerging powers and relative change in the U.S. influence,” a reference to China’s growing military.

“Military modernization by China and its insufficient transparency are of concern for the regional and global community,” the summary states.

Additionally, the Japanese defense leaders stated that North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats “are immediate and grave destabilizing factors to the regional security.”

The guidelines also warn that the threat to Japan posed by “gray area” incidents is increasing. It defines such incidents as “confrontations over territory, sovereignty and economic interests which have not escalated into wars.”

One example is Japan’s recent confrontation with China over the Senkaku Islands, where a Chinese fishing boat rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel, setting off a diplomatic row that included threats from China and a cutoff of exports of Chinese rare-earth minerals used in high-tech manufacturing.

Other security dangers include what are described as “increasingly robust” Russian military activities.

Russian jets interfered with a joint U.S.-Japan military exercise in the East Sea/Japan Sea this month, prompting Japan to scramble its jet fighters. The Russian jets temporarily disrupted the exercises.

The summary states that “a full-scale invasion against Japan is unlikely today, but security challenges and destabilizing factors which Japan faces are diverse, complex and intertwined.”

On nuclear weapons, the guidelines state that Japan will “continue to maintain and improve credibility of U.S. extended deterrence, with nuclear deterrent as a vital element, through close cooperation with the U.S.

According to Japanese press reports quoting defense officials, Japan plans to increase its submarine force from 16 to 22 and will deploy missile defenses nationwide as a result of the growing threat from China and existing threat from North Korea.

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