Japan won't end up well if it plays tricks on Taiwan question
Published: Aug 26, 2021 10:28 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Japanese government has been provoking China by interfering in the Taiwan question. By colluding with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority in the island of Taiwan, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is blindly acting as a US pawn to pressure China. Recently, the LDP cannot restrain the impulse of its strategic anxiety and is taking the lead in hyping the Taiwan question. 

Disregarding Beijing's opposition, two lawmakers each from the LPD and the DPP will hold a "2+2" security meeting on Friday, the first dialogue of its kind initiated by Japan, to discuss "defense and regional security issues," participant and DPP lawmaker Lo Chih-cheng told AFP. The LDP is attempting to use the seemingly nonofficial exchange to avoid the impression that it is engaging an "intergovernmental dialogue," trying to cater to the US without irritating the Chinese mainland. But such a trick does not work anymore.

The Japanese government still dares not completely abandon the one-China principle, so it can only intervene in the Taiwan question in such a roundabout way. Masahisa Sato, a Japanese politician from the LDP, told the Financial Times that the security meeting will be an alternative to ministerial talks as Japan "officially recognizes Beijing over Taipei." But in essence, this is no different from the "2+2" security meeting at the government level.

"Japan's '2+2' meeting has always been governmental, but it cannot do so when it comes to the island of Taiwan. Japan is turning to a new approach - inter-party diplomacy. The mainland must remain vigilant to see whether Japan will further escalate the situation," Wang Guangtao, an associate research fellow at the Center for Japanese Studies of the Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times. 

When Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited the US in April, he raised in a joint statement with US President Joe Biden the "importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits." In its annual defense white paper released in July, Japan said that stability in the Taiwan Straits is "more important than ever," and is threatened by "increasing military pressure" from the Chinese mainland. 

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi recently called on the international community to pay greater attention to the "survival of Taiwan." Tokyo is aware that it does not have the strength to challenge Beijing alone. Thus, it wishes to unite the international community to form a new round of containment of China vis-à-vis the Taiwan question.

This "2+2" security meeting between Japan and the island of Taiwan will further irritate the Chinese mainland. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Wednesday that "China firmly opposes all forms of official interactions between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic ties with China." 

For the Chinese people, Japan should be especially prudent on the Taiwan question since the Japanese side bears historical responsibilities to the Chinese people for its war-time atrocities. All of Japan's acts on the Taiwan question will arouse Chinese people's vigilance, and its provoking words and deeds will anger the Chinese people.

The Chinese mainland has been paying attention to the increasingly frequent exchanges between Japan and the island of Taiwan. The Chinese mainland has warned other countries, especially the US and its allies, not to violate the one-China principle. The Chinese People's Liberation Army on August 17 launched joint live-fire assault drills in multiple locations near the island of Taiwan, showing its determination and capability of resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty. China will make the boundaries of the Taiwan question clearer on the international stage to defeat Japan's attempts.

The year 2022 will witness the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, and the Taiwan question is the core of the normalization of bilateral ties. Taking risks on the Taiwan question is tantamount to provoking a war. Japan's playing tricks will only make itself lose on both sides - becoming cannon fodder for US interests on one hand and provoking the Chinese mainland and asking for trouble for itself on the other.