There are signs that Japan’s position on Taiwan is moving from strategic ambiguity to strategic clarity, and Beijing is softening its tone as it offers the banner of a “united front” against Taiwan. These hints of change are evident in the statements made by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Wang Yang on the same day, July 5, regarding Taiwan.
The latest report shows that the Japanese Senate is quite concerned about what Japan will do if “something happens to Taiwan”. This shows that Japan’s highest public opinion body has a clear sense of crisis regarding the security situation in the Taiwan Strait.
Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso’s attitude in a speech in Tokyo on July 5 is quite clear: If China invades and attacks Taiwan, Japan may exercise its restricted right to collective self-defense in accordance with security-related regulations; if a major problem occurs in Taiwan, it is likely to be related to Japan’s “existential crisis situation”, so the United States and Japan Therefore, the United States and Japan must work together to defend Taiwan.
According to the Central News Agency: Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense think tank, the National Defense Security Research Institute assistant researcher Shu Xiaohuang commented: Japan will be so concerned about the security of the Taiwan Strait, the reason is that from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait or Taiwan’s eastern waters all the way up, for Japan is the economy and energy of the sea lifeline, but also an important economic and trade traffic line, if Taiwan is captured, Japan’s maritime energy traffic line will be cut off, the impact is huge.
In addition, the stability of the Taiwan Strait is also important for the defense of Japan’s southwest region. If Taiwan is breached, Japan will face unpredictable military measures from China. Based on the U.S.-Japan security treaty, the U.S. hopes that Japan’s attitude will become clearer, so that Japan’s strategy has become increasingly clear from the ambiguity of the past.
Su Ziyun, director of the Institute of National Defense Strategy and Resources of the National Defense Council of Taiwan, pointed out that China’s military power has reached a critical point, that is, it has the ability to wage regional war, and Japan is in the first island chain, so it has a better understanding of the Chinese threat, so the Japanese deputy prime minister’s statement proves that Japan has moved from strategic ambiguity to constructive strategic clarity.
In response to Taro Aso’s statement that the U.S. and Japan should work together to defend Taiwan, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ou Jiang’an said: “We are pleased to see and welcome the continued attention of the international community and friends from all walks of life to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is located at the important hub of the first island chain in East Asia and plays a key role in regional stability and prosperity.
Ou Jiang’an said that the Taiwanese government will work closely with like-minded countries on a deep foundation to defend democratic values and a rule-based international order, and work together to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait and the region.
On the same day, July 5, Chinese National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Yang said in a speech at a symposium held in Beijing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China: the new era and new journey of reform, development and stability are unprecedentedly heavy tasks, contradictions, risks and challenges are unprecedented, the work of cohesion is even heavier, and the magic weapon of the united front The role of the United Front has become more prominent. Wang Yang finally mentioned that “we should develop and strengthen the forces of patriotism and love for Hong Kong and Macau, and unite our compatriots in Taiwan to jointly promote the peaceful reunification process of the motherland.”
Anyone who understands the CCP’s discourse will appreciate the multiple meanings of Beijing’s use of the “united front”: it is both consensus-seeking and quite deceptive. It is much more euphemistic than the tone of CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speech at the July 1 celebration. I wonder what Wang Yang’s “united front magic weapon” means after the “One Respect” has set the tone for Taiwan.
Xi Jinping’s July 1 speech mentioned the resolution of the Taiwan issue, in addition to reaffirming the promotion of unification and crushing Taiwan independence, but also said a rare “no one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity!” The speech drew 23 seconds of applause from the audience.
The “anyone” Xi referred to was not exclusively aimed at “Taiwan independence,” but impliedly at Taiwan, the U.S. or other democratic allies combined to counter China’s counterattack on Taiwan’s sovereignty status, with a special connotation. From the U.S.-Japan summit, the U.S.-Japan 2+2 talks, the U.S.-South Korea summit, the Japan-Australia 2+2, and even the G7 summit, the Taiwan issue has been elevated from the cross-strait level to an international issue. Faced with the internationalization of the Taiwan issue, Xi Jinping has chosen to intensify China’s civil nationalism by threatening “anyone” in the international community.
Surprisingly, only four days later, the Taiwan issue seems to have been toned down or even changed in Wang Yang’s speech. However, Taiwan, learning from history, is not yet appreciative, as they are most uncomfortable with the Communist Party’s “united front”. In response to Wang Yang’s speech, Taiwan’s Land Commission pointed out that the CCP’s “united front” approach to its internal and external problems is still essentially to suppress social autonomy and pluralism, consolidate the CCP’s one-party dictatorship, continue to expand the CCP’s influence on the international community and democratic countries, and expand its united war efforts on Taiwan.
The Council also called on the Chinese side to face up to the cross-strait reality and respect Taiwan’s public opinion on the development of cross-strait relations. Only by abandoning the imposed political framework and military intimidation and facing up to Taiwan’s important initiative of “peace, reciprocity, democracy and dialogue” will it be possible for cross-strait relations to interact positively and develop in a sustainable manner.
According to a poll released by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation on July 1, the day of the Communist Party of China (CPC) anniversary, as many as 89% of the people either dislike or do not like the CPC, while only about 11% have a favorable view of the CPC.