As reported in the Japan Times on March 21, Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin agreed to “closely cooperate in the event of a military clash between China and Taiwan.” Kishi further emphasized a need to study ways for the Japan Self-Defense Forces to cooperate with the US military in defending Taiwan in the event of an attack.
Both Japan and the US recognize the necessity to jointly defend Taiwan.
On Oct. 4, 2018, former US vice president Mike Pence in a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington said that “China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages on land, at sea, in the air and in space. China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies.”
Without the US’ help, would Japan surrender to China?
The Japanese should be fully aware of China’s deep hatred toward Japan. During the First Sino-Japanese War from 1894 to 1895, China was humiliated when it was forced to retreat from the Korean Peninsula and cede Taiwan to Japan.
In World War II, a lot of Chinese were killed, particularly in the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 and 1938, when, by China’s official estimate, about 300,000 Chinese were killed, although Japan does not agree with such a high figure.
The Chinese want revenge, if they have the opportunity.
China’s plan is to take over Taiwan first. Chinese military strategists have already discussed the prospect of using Taiwan’s military bases to cut off Japan’s air and sea routes, and to attack Okinawa and Honshu.
Taiwan has about 12,000 missiles of various types, one of the highest missile densities in the world. If Taiwan cannot fend off a Chinese invasion, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam would easily succumb under Chinese military coercion, and Japan would be isolated.
If China moves long-range missiles and other military assets onto Taiwan and launches submarines from deep-sea harbors on the eastern coast of Taiwan, the US might have to withdraw from its nearby military bases on Okinawa.
It would become dangerous for US warships to patrol the western Pacific and they might have to move back to the eastern Pacific to protect their homeland.
Under such circumstances, would Washington still honor its commitments under the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security?
Taiwan’s security is Japan’s security. Japan should not be afraid of Chinese military power and should take the following actions: Send warships to patrol the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, help Taiwan to greatly bolster its defense systems, hold military exercises with Taiwan to avoid friendly fire and assist Taiwan by sinking Chinese warships in the event of an invasion.
Kenneth Wang is a founder of the Institute of Taiwanese Studies in Los Angeles, a former president of the Taiwanese American Center in San Diego, California, and a former president of the US West Coast Taiwanese Summer Conferences.
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