The US will use its most advanced unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to monitor Chinese activity in waters surrounding the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), the object of an acrimonious dispute between Beijing and Tokyo, Japanese media are reporting.
The decision was made during a meeting between Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on Sunday, NHK and the Yomiuri Shimbun said, adding that the drones would also conduct surveillance around Okinawa.
At least three unarmed Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk drones have been deployed at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam since September 2010, bolstering the operational intelligence capabilities of US forces in the Asia-Pacific.
Operating at an altitude of about 18,000m, the RQ-4 provides near-real-time, long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery by means of a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar. It played a role in damage assessment following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March last year.
Amid rising tensions between Japan and China over the disputed islets, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has mostly relied on P-3C “Orion” surveillance aircraft to monitor Chinese naval activity in the area.
Taiwan also claims sovereignty over the islands.
Tetsuo Kotani, a fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo, said the deployment sends an important message.
“One of the urgent issues for the US-Japan alliance is to enhance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] cooperation,” he told the Taipei Times yesterday. “The Global Hawk can serve as a symbol of allied ISR cooperation.”
“This is an important step for the alliance and sends a strong message to Beijing that Washington stands firmly with Tokyo,” he said.
Although the US does not officially take a position on the sovereignty dispute, some believe the Diaoyutais fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Co-operation and Security.
However, Kotani said Beijing should not misunderstand the real message.
“This is US reassurance to Japan. As long as Japan is reassured by the US, Japan does not have to take provocative actions vis-a-vis Beijing over the Senkakus,” he said. “No country wants to increase the tensions.”
The Diaoyutais are known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.
During Sunday’s meeting, Panetta and Morimoto also agreed to explore eventual revisions of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, which govern cooperation between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the US military during crises.
Passed in 1978, the guidelines were substantially revised in 1997 in response to the North Korean nuclear program.
“We shared the view that it’s important to jointly study and discuss [security matters], taking into consideration changes in the security environment and what Japan-US cooperation should be,” Morimoto told a press conference.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the review will focus on defense cooperation on the Nansei Islands in response to Chinese military expansion and increasing activity in waters surrounding Japan, as well as North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and post-disaster cooperation.
No specific procedures or timeline for the review were discussed.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters