OPINION / VIEWPOINT
Japan will dig its own grave if it crosses red line of Taiwan question
Published: Jul 07, 2021 12:38 PM
Taro Aso Photo: VCG

Taro Aso Photo: VCG

"If China invades Taiwan, Tokyo may interpret the move as a 'threat to Japan's survival' and deploy the Self-Defense Forces to exercise collective self-defense," Nikkei Asia quoted Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso as reporting on Tuesday. 

Japan has gone too far and stretched its hands too long. Japan has no right to dictate issues related to China's internal affairs. Making inflammatory comments on the Taiwan question shows that Japan is following US' policy of using the island as an important bridgehead to contain China. Such remarks from a Japanese politician made shortly before the memorial day of July 7 Incident of 1937, when Japan invaded China, proves that Japan's colonial ideology, especially toward the island of Taiwan, has not disappeared for a single day. Yet Japan needs to remember that its survival depends on whether Japan understands its situation correctly - not on how China is prepared to resolve the Taiwan question. 

Such a view toward the Taiwan question as a core interest of Japan is not uncommon. For the hawks in Japan, especially the extreme right wings, they are actually focused on two issues, one is the Diaoyu Islands, and the other is the island of Taiwan. If Taiwan secedes from China, China's overall comprehensive strength will be greatly weakened. Japan does not want to see a strong China nearby. So it is more in Japan's practical interest, especially of certain politicians, to separate the island from China.

But it needs to be clarified that, first of all, Japan does not dare to confront China alone. If Japan involves itself in the Taiwan question militarily, it will be Japan digging its own grave. Japan's military capability is completely restrained by the US and does not have an independent combat capability. It is easy for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to paralyze the attack capability of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Japan itself is powerless against the Chinese military.

However, if Japan cooperates with the US to carry out military actions against China, especially over the island of Taiwan or Diaoyu Islands, Beijing will view the move as engaging in a military conflict with China. In this sense, Japan will become the target of China's military strike. This will endanger Japan's survival.

Politicians such as Aso are unlikely to become the dominant force in Japan's foreign policy. Some Japanese politicians have been instigating Taiwan secessionists to pursue "Taiwan independence." What China needs to do, and can do, is to increase efforts to exercise authority over the Diaoyu Islands issue.

Japan believes that the US will definitely defend the island of Taiwan militarily. So Japanese politicians are talking a lot of nonsense here. They want to send a signal to Washington that if the US sends troops to the island, Japan will do the same, as the latter wishes to fish in troubled waters. But if Japan is all by itself, it would tend likely take a step back, or make compromises, when confronting China today. 

Japan is not a country with full sovereignty, militarily, diplomatically or politically. The reason why Japan keeps hyping up the so-called external threats is obvious: it needs to constantly exaggerate the situation so it can turn these into public opinion to support revising its pacifist constitution.

As long as Japan crosses China's red line, the PLA will have no other choice but to strike back.

The author is a military expert and TV commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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