TAIPEI – Although Japan has indicated in recent months that it will assist with any Taiwanese defense against China, it will only help defend the island from Chinese attack if called for by the US or if the conflict is under Japanese control. Affects the outer islands, say analysts.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control.
Experts say Tokyo will join a US-led defense of Taiwan because of its historic alliance with Washington, which includes a 70-year-old Japan-US security pact, or if China threatens Japan’s islands such as Yonaguni. Put. Which are near the east coast of Taiwan.
An annual Japanese Defense White Paper in mid-July called Taiwan important for domestic and international security for the first time, adding that “it is essential that [Japan] Approach the situation with a greater sense of distress than ever before.”
China retaliated, saying that Japan is interfering in China’s internal affairs.
“Japan has recently been grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs and making baseless allegations about China’s normal national defense and military activities,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press briefing, official Xinhua. news agency reported.
Earlier in the month, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said the government would have to defend Taiwan alongside the United States in the event of an invasion, the Kyodo News Agency reported.
Aso, quoting Kyodo, said “it would not be too much to say that it could be related to an existential-threatening situation” if Taiwan gets into trouble.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao called the remarks “extremely incorrect and dangerous, as they … undermine the political foundations of Sino-Japanese relations,” Xinhua told.
Japanese state defense minister Yasuhide Nakayama warned during a think tank speech last month that Sino-Russian cooperation could pose a threat and advised Taiwan to defend “as a democratic country”.
In April, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a statement saying that both “underlined the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.”
US-Japan statement raises issue of Taiwan defense against China
Japan, a staunch but unofficial ally of Taiwan, is seen as supporting the US-led defense of the island, but does not launch military action.
Bonji O’Hara, senior fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation research group in Tokyo, said Japan’s self-defense force would go ahead if a Chinese military operation affected the Japanese islands. Yonaguni is closest to Taiwan, 110 kilometers to the east.
“If China tried to conduct [an] Armed invasion of Taiwan, China needs to conduct maritime blockade operations and air blockade operations,” O’Hara said.
“The blockade area also includes Japanese territory such as Yonaguni Island and other islands on the southwest side of Japan,” he said.
O’Hara said Japanese forces would mobilize, especially if American forces joined at the same time.
Regular Chinese military flights into a corner of Taiwan’s air defense detection zone during the past eight months have raised concerns about a possible attack by China, which maintains the world’s third-strongest armed forces after the United States and Russia. keeps. A 1979 US law, the Taiwan Relations Act, allows the United States to help defend Taiwan militarily.
The Japan–US Security Treaty commits Japan and the United States to take action against common threats. Both see Taiwan as a friendly Asia Pacific buffer against Chinese naval expansion.
Japan separately disputes with China over sovereignty in parts of the sea, and the two countries have disputes over issues left over from World War II.
Chen Yi-fan, assistant professor of diplomacy and international relations at Tamkang University in Taiwan, said Tokyo would be involved if “Chinese attacks” on US military planes or ships or Chinese missiles hit US military bases in Japan.
“If the waters in or around the Taiwan Strait are under Chinese control, Japan will have no choice but to respond,” Chen said.
However, some scholars maintain that Japan’s statements and movements since April do not in themselves indicate an intention to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack.
Jeffrey Kingston, a history instructor at Temple University’s Japan campus, said Tokyo’s remarks were “shadow boxing” and “saber rattling” rather than an intention to fight any war. His statements help the government to suggest to the Japanese public that it is pursuing “values-based” foreign relations, he said.
“Nobody really believes this will come in a shooting war,” Kingston said. “It’s like a freebie for Japan to be tough-looking, tough-talking, but knowing that at the end of the day nothing really will need to be done.”
Aso’s remarks reflect, among others, personal views rather than the views of the Japanese government, said Huang Kwei-bo, vice dean of the College of International Affairs at National Chengchi University in Taipei.
“My feeling is that the Japanese authorities are always trying to downplay what these sly people are saying,” Huang said.
For example, Suga said in April that his country wanted a “stable and constructive relationship” with China, Kyodo News reported.
Chen said Japanese officials hoped they would avoid bothering China for now as they ramp up economic recovery after the pandemic. China is Japan’s largest trading partner.