Japan announced that it has again given Taiwan one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which is the third time it has given Taiwan vaccine, accumulating 3.37 million doses in three occasions, making it the largest donor of vaccine to Taiwan. In addition, Japan’s new defense white paper proposes “two firsts,” the first time Taiwan is taken out of the China chapter, and the first time that the stability of Taiwan’s neighborhood is vital to Japan and international stability. Scholars analyze that separating the two enemy countries is the right direction, and it is expected that the international community will have a clearer understanding that Taiwan does not belong to China.
The Japanese Cabinet meeting on July 13 announced the 2021 edition of the defense white paper, pointing out that, in the context of increased competition between the two powers in the field of science and technology, the United States and China, it is necessary to “pay close attention to the situation in the Taiwan Strait with a sense of crisis as never before”. Japan’s defense white paper emphasizes for the first time: “The stability of the situation around Taiwan is important, not only for our security, but also for the stability of the international community. Japan must pay great attention and raise its vigilance.”
The new Japanese defense white paper mentions that military activities around Taiwan, such as Chinese military aircraft entering the airspace southwest of Taiwan, have become more active, while the United States has sent ships through the Taiwan Strait, sold weapons to Taiwan, and other actions to clearly demonstrate its attitude toward military support for Taiwan.
Japan’s defense white paper mentions for the first time that Taiwan’s stability is vital to Japan and the international community
Japan’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that this is the first time the defense white paper mentions the importance of Taiwan’s stability, and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi made the same statement in the Diet recently. Japan’s consistent position is to expect both sides to resolve the Taiwan issue peacefully through dialogue.
Another feature of the new Japanese defense white paper is that, for the first time, Taiwan has been removed from the China section and placed in the new “U.S.-China Relations” section, with Taiwan as the main subject. The text mentions Taiwan’s relations with the U.S. and China, as well as the current military balance between China and Taiwan, from April last year to March this year.
Taiwan media “Free Times” reported that Japan’s defense white paper has been criticized by Japanese Taiwanese groups for putting Taiwan and China together in the past. The new version has been changed, and it can be interpreted as a friendly and respectful statement to Taiwan by Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. The Ministry of Defense stressed that Japan’s basic position on relations with Taiwan has not changed in any way.
On the “two firsts” of the new Japanese defense white paper, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ou Jiang’an welcomed and thanked, and stressed that Taiwan and Japan share basic values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and have close economic and trade relations and personnel exchanges, is an important partner and precious friend of Japan, Taiwan will continue to urge similar ideas Taiwan will continue to urge like-minded countries to emphasize the importance of security and peace in the Taiwan Strait to regional prosperity and stability.
Taiwan and China’s military rivalry is incestuous when put together
In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Chen Yongfeng, director of the Center for Japanese Regional Studies at Taiwan’s Tunghai University, said that the Japanese defense white paper’s removal of Taiwan from China’s subsidiary matters for the first time is a major breakthrough.
Chen Yongfeng said, “Of course it is not a new chapter or section on Taiwan, but it is placed in the relationship between China and the United States, which is already a very, very big breakthrough. This is of course emphasizing that Taiwan and China are enemies, and it’s super strange to put it in the same chapter itself, so now it’s just back to (normal), so the issue of Taiwan is becoming more and more normalized internationally.”
Akio Yaban, Taipei branch director of the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, also told Radio Free Asia that taking Taiwan out of the China chapter is a matter of course: “Taiwan and China are two countries that belong to military rivalry, and getting them in one chapter is a bit incestuous in the first place. But in the past, Japan has been diplomatically restrained by various influences and pressures from China, and recently it is clear that Japan is no longer afraid of China.”
Yaban Akio and pointed out that Japan’s defense white paper to the Taiwan Strait security written in, is also a major diplomatic breakthrough, and stepped on the red line of China. Basically, the Japanese Constitution cannot do a lot of things, but the interpretation of Japanese law in the bureaucrats and the ruling party, as long as both sides decide how to interpret, there can be a lot of legal breakthroughs. And in the future, there can be a lot of relaxation in the military cooperation and exchange between Japan and Taiwan, as well as mutual visits by military officials.
Chen Yongfeng: Recognition of one China and Taiwan’s independence do not conflict
Chen Yongfeng said, “On the one hand, recognizing one China and at the same time recognizing Taiwan’s independence,” the two can not conflict. The fact that the U.S. and Japan sent vaccines to Taiwan, especially the landing of U.S. military planes in Taipei, shows that if Taiwan is considered part of China, it would be considered a very serious provocation. But so far China has not recalled its ambassador to the United States and Japan, nor has it withdrawn its embassy, nor has it made any major protest moves such as breaking off diplomatic relations, which is clearly “tacit approval”! Therefore, it is clear that “one China” still officially exists in the international treaties and official diplomatic statements of Japan-China and U.S.-China diplomatic relations, so “China is one, but Taiwan is not in China”, and Taiwan should repeatedly assert and prove this point in the international arena in the future. Taiwan should repeatedly assert and prove this point in the international arena, including in commercial contracts, to be independent of the Greater China region.
In addition, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshichika Mogi announced at a press conference on the 13th that Japan will donate an additional 1 million doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine to help Taiwan fight the epidemic, and the vaccine is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on the 15th of this month. The Japanese government donated 1.24 million doses on June 4 and 1.13 million doses on the 8th of this month, totaling 3.37 million doses in three batches, exceeding the 2.5 million doses of Modena vaccine donated to Taiwan by the United States, making Japan the largest country in terms of the number of vaccines to be donated to Taiwan.
Vaccine diplomacy wrestling Japan wants to reassure Taiwan people
Chen Yongfeng studied and judged that Japan will send it again only when the Taiwanese government expresses its need. He boldly interpreted Japan’s attitude toward Taiwan: “How much is needed will be sent”. He believes that Taiwan-Japan relations can now be said to be a super friendly moment in history. He also speculated that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to visit Taiwan on July 30 to mourn the anniversary of the death of former President Lee Teng-hui.
Japan’s “Sankei Shimbun” branch chief Akio Yaban said Japan gifted Taiwan vaccines in three batches because every time a batch is produced, a batch is sent to Taiwan to ensure that it does not expire. He said that Shanghai Fosun has released Taiwan to buy BNT vaccine, which is a part of China’s vaccine diplomacy war. Japan and the United States want to rush before China wants to use the epidemic to expand its influence on Taiwan and manipulate Taiwan, so that the people of Taiwan have “the peace of mind that there is always a vaccine” and do not want Taiwan to bow down to China, there is competition in the middle, so Japan’s second and third batches were given quickly.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan expressed its heartfelt gratitude to Japan for its generous act. Japan has protected the lives and health of Taiwan’s nationals and increased the strength of the Taiwanese people against the epidemic, and all of Taiwan is forever grateful for this, and wishes the upcoming Tokyo Olympics a smooth success.