Japan’s defense minister has a request for European countries that are looking for a say on Indo-Pacific affairs: call out China’s aggression before it becomes a bigger problem for the international community.

Speaking to The Guardian in a recent interview, Japan's Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi said that China has grown more powerful and is “attempting to use its power to unilaterally change the status quo in the East and South China Seas.” If left unchecked, Kishi highlighted that important trade routes could be affected.

Kishi’s remarks came amid a growing rift within the West over a recently concluded deal that would see the U.S. provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. This came at the expense of France, which had previously reached a $40 billion deal in 2016 to supply similar submarines to Australia, prompting outrage from Paris after the agreement was announced.

In response, France pulled its ambassadors from Australia and the U.S., and scuttled defense talks with the U.K., the third party in the U.S. submarine deal. China also condemned the deal as “seriously undermining regional security” though the so-called AUUKUS countries deny that their move singles out Beijing.

In his interview, Kishi pointed to Japan’s confrontations with China over an island chain it knows as the Senkaku Islands. China, too, claims these islands, which it calls Diaoyu, and for the better part of the last decade has sent its ships into waters directly off the coast.

According to Japanese coast guard figures cited by The Guardian, Chinese ships reached a record number of intrusions at 157 days in a row, and lodged a protest at the end of August over the arrival of a flotilla of Chinese coast guard ships off the islands.

Last week, Kishi told CNN that Japan would take its own more forceful approach to Chinese incursions by promising that it would be "matching any Chinese threat ship for ship, and beyond."

European countries have worked to develop their own approach to the Indo-Pacific region. Last week, a new strategy report from the European Union was released that warned regional tensions can impact European interests though it urged for "multifaceted engagement" with China. Kishi said that he has shared with European officials the ways tension in the region can impact them.