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Temperature Difference between Japan and the United States in Taiwan’s Emergency Response

Former Japanese prime minister and current Liberal Democratic Party vice president Taro Aso withTaiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen during Aso's visit to Taipei in August. (AFP)
Former Japanese prime minister and current Liberal Democratic Party vice president Taro Aso withTaiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen during Aso's visit to Taipei in August. (AFP)
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17 Aug 2023 10:08:25 GMT9
17 Aug 2023 10:08:25 GMT9

Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Taro Aso visited Taipei from August 7th to the 9th. In the meantime, he gave a lecture at an international forum there and emphasized that “Japan, Taiwan, the United States and other volunteer countries are required to be prepared to fight” with “Taiwan emergencies in mind.” After that, he also met with President Tsai Ing-wen. The Taiwanese media reported it widely.

Aso expressed concern about China’s move to increase military pressure and said, “The possibility of an emergency in Taiwan is increasing. Japan is ready to use its defense capabilities to defend Taiwan. Furthermore, conveying such clear intentions to the other party will serve as a deterrent,” he said and repeated, “This resolute attitude of Japan will not be changed after the Kishida administration.”, which implies the post Kishida.

Japan is an important international partner for Taiwan,” Tsai said, confirming that she would cooperate for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

This discussion on the Taiwan contingency should also be a major theme at the Japan-U.S.-South Korea trilateral summit, which will be held in Camp David, USA from August 18th.The Biden administration is also continuing to walk a delicate tightrope on how to clearly share responsibility with South Korea and Japan while seeking to improve relations with China.

Nevertheless, the biggest challenge is that neither the Japanese government nor its people have concrete measures to defend Taiwan, but they are always dealing with other people’s affairs. Although Aso has put his “resolution to fight” at the top of his list, the reality is that it will not be so easy.

In the first place, simulations concerning emergencies in Taiwan have been conducted frequently in both the United States and Japan, but the reality is that there are many false activities to obtain defense funds. In particular, the U.S. has repeatedly conducted various graphical training, assuming that “China’s invasion of Taiwan is possible also in 2024, not only in 2027.”

However, we cannot ignore the harsh reality that China is surpassing the U.S. militarily and even at this point, America cannot compete with it. In both Japan and the United States, simulations have concluded that “the Chinese army can be pushed back,” but the flaw is that there are many selfish inferences.

In the case of the United States, it is highly likely that it will not be able to respond sufficiently in case of an emergency in Taiwan due to its arms supply to Ukraine, and we are facing an urgent problem with limited military capacity.

Perhaps that’s why the latest simulations by Rand Corporation conclude that “the American military cannot stop China from invading Taiwan.” Under the National Defense Authorization Act, the United States has decided to provide arms to Taiwan for free. However, details of the assistance have not been disclosed.

Furthermore, as the U.S. military forces its soldiers SDGS policy or COVID-19 vaccination, the better soldiers choose to retire, and the number of soldiers with low skill and morale increases rapidly, so they are in a serious situation where they cannot be used immediately.

If we make a cool decision, we can see that there is almost no joint preparation by the United States and Japan for an emergency in Taiwan at this time. It is noteworthy that Secretary of State Blinken’s remark “Without the withdrawal of Afghanistan, we could not have been involved in Ukraine.” clearly indicates that the United States cannot respond to a two-front war.

In short, I must say that the current Japan-U.S. alliance system cannot defend Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, China has learned many lessons from Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine, and construction of hospital ships is also fast-paced, apparently building a system to accommodate between 70,000 and 150,000 wounded soldiers per day. Clearly, the move was intended to invade Taiwan.

However, the reality is that in case of an emergency in Taiwan, Japan is confused by problems such as not being able to secure evacuation means for Japanese living in Taiwan and lack of shelters and transportation methods in neighboring areas such as Ishigaki Island. Unfortunately, there is no such “resolution to fight” as Aso is appealing.

Moreover, even if Japan, the United States and the international community try to deal with it, as exemplified by the theory of “one China,” Taiwan remains a high hurdle for intervention because some view it as China’s domestic problem. I believe that overcoming this problem should be the top priority.

In fact, former Prime Minister Abe was also concerned that “the Taiwan issue is China’s internal affairs,” and concluded that “the U.S. ambiguous strategy after the Obama administration cannot protect Taiwan.” Although the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act was passed by the Senate, it is not officially approved by the government and requires congressional approval whenever U.S. troops try to enter in case of emergency.

Feeling threatened by this, Abe appealed directly to President Biden and received a positive response. However, the U.S. is not capable of protecting Taiwan, and it is unlikely to be able to compete with China, which aims to increase its offensive power against satellites and disrupt GPS.

Therefore, the United States believes that it is necessary to rapidly increase the number of countries recognizing Taiwan from the current 13 to around 130 and is currently seeking a change of policy. To check and deter China’s movements is nothing more than the idea that Taiwan’s state recognition should be the first priority. It’s rather late, but the United States has begun asking Japan and other countries to support Taiwan’s participation in the RIMPAC exercises, including international organizations such as the TPP and WT. During his visit to Taiwan, Aso also said, “We welcome Taiwan’s entry into the TPP,” but specific procedures remain in the dark.

Japan’s biggest drawback is that it is not aware of the economic security issues if Taiwan should be incorporated into China. If the sea lanes passing through the Taiwan Strait are blocked, it is obvious that Japan, which relies heavily on foreign energy and food, will be in danger of national survival. The U.S. had analyzed that China’s military exercises around Taiwan were prepared in advance regardless of the visit of House Speaker Pelosi and others.

Despite the fact that the United States was aware of China’s cautious move, they were concerned about the vulnerability of Japan’s defense and confidentiality, and failed to share information with Japan. That situation remains the same even now. Japan and the United States should take advantage of the Taiwan crisis to strengthen mutual trust.

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