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Editorial: Japan should also cooperate in defending Taiwan

At a [recent] CNN Town Hall, U.S. President Joe Biden was asked if the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if China were to attack. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” he responded.


So far, the U.S. government has maintained “strategic ambiguity” and not clearly stated its defense responsibilities in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. “The President’s remark is in no way a change to U.S. policy,” said a senior U.S. government official in relation to the President’s remarks.


However, we cannot take the high-ranking government official’s statement at face value. The United States has dispatched special operations troops to Taiwan and conducted military training. It has also sold U.S.-made weapons to Taiwan. The President’s remarks may be a sign that defense of Taiwan has become accepted as a matter of course in the United States.


Taiwan advocates freedom and democracy, and the very freedom and democracy of its own people. will be lost if Taiwan falls into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party regime. Moreover, the international situation will deteriorate to a degree unacceptable to both Japan and the United States as well as other countries around the world that share the basic values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.


If Chinese military bases were established in Taiwan, the military balance in the region would lean in China’s favor. Japan would be isolated in the Western Pacific region and could come under more military and diplomatic pressure from China than ever before. Protecting the Nansei Islands, including the Senkaku Islands (Okinawa Prefecture), would be extremely difficult.


This is why Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly stated that “Taiwan stands on the front lines geopolitically” when calling for support from the international community.


At the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing, former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, who has been nominated to serve as America’s next Ambassador to China, said that China’s military movements “pose the greatest threat in the 21st century without a doubt.” He emphasized the need to support cooperation with America’s allies and to strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities.


At the same hearing, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the nominee to serve as the next ambassador to Japan, designated strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance a top priority and expressed his hope that Japan will increase its defense spending.


By cooperating with Japan and its other allies, the Biden administration is trying to enhance the effectiveness of deterrence measures against China.


This calls into question Japan’s commitment and actions to protect peace. Improving the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance is essential for “the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.” What can Japan do to achieve that? Each political party should clearly state its stance on this issue during the Lower House election.

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