China justly reacts against Japanese meddling as Tokyo shifts to US line on Taiwan
Published: Aug 05, 2022 10:07 PM Updated: Aug 05, 2022 11:59 PM
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida(right) meets with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. Photo: VCG

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida(right) meets with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. Photo: VCG

Continuing to play the US' spearhead in Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday after she paid a highly provocative visit to the island of Taiwan and criticized China's military drills around the island, which analysts said showcased Japan's calculation to cooperate with the US on containing China while expanding its own military strength. 

As China has expressed its opposition toward Japan's recent negative moves on the island of Taiwan by summoning the Japanese ambassador to China to condemn Japan's unfriendly moves, analysts warned that Japanese leaders should know that closely following the US in playing the Taiwan card to provoke China will further damage bilateral relations and incur countermeasures.  

On Friday, Pelosi and a US congressional delegation were in Japan on the last stop of their Asian trip and had a meeting with Japanese leader Kishid, Kyodo News reported, also noting that during the meeting, Kishida "strongly criticized China's military drills which "threatened Japan" and "impacted peace and stability" of the region.

In responding to Kishida's remarks on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press conference that Japanese leaders' recent moves on the Taiwan question were very unfriendly and disappointed the Chinese people. 

While making no specific comment on Pelosi's provocative visit to the island of Taiwan in previous days, Japan on Wednesday together with other Group of Seven (G7) members and the EU issued a statement that unjustly accused China over the Taiwan question, which led to the cancellation of a scheduled meeting between Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Thursday. 

On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Hideo Tarumi over the negative statement. 

Japan's calculation

Since Wednesday, Japanese media outlets have paid close attention to China's military drills surrounding the island of Taiwan. While attending a ministerial meeting with ASEAN in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi called for an "immediate stop" to China's military drills.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left their seats, which media reports said was a "protest" over Japan's criticism on China's military drills and Russia's actions in Ukraine. 

Japan adopted a changing attitude toward Pelosi's visit - from refraining from making any comments to actively cooperating with the US. It knew from the start that the US was not justified to have Pelosi visit Taiwan island but after China started countermeasures, it found excuses to attack China - for example, claiming that China's missiles landed in its "exclusive economic zone," Xiang Haoyu, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. 

On Thursday, Japan said that five missiles China launched during the live-fire drills "landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone" and it conveyed "opposition" to China via diplomatic channels.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua said during the Thursday and Friday press conferences that China and Japan have not carried out maritime delimitation in relevant waters, so there is no such thing as China's military actions being held in or entering Japan's "exclusive economic zone."

There is no basis for Japan to claim an "exclusive economic zone" in related waters. The US has conducted military drills in the waters near Japan frequently, so why did we not hear Japan jumping to accuse the US, analysts asked, noting that the Japanese government's responses aim to show loyalty to the US and play as the spearhead and barking dog for the US. 

Japan has probably again fallen into delusional disorder and wants to use this chance to hype topics about the Diaoyu Islands, while China has sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and the exclusive economic zone around them. If the missiles fell into these areas, there is nothing related to Japan, Tian Shichen, founder of the Global Governance Institution and director of the International Center for the Law of Military Operations, told the Global Times.

Tian noted that Japan wants to use the topics of China's military drills and the Taiwan question to stir up trouble and attract global attention. In recent years, it has paid more attention to the Taiwan Straits, and its newly released defense white paper also mentioned the Taiwan question many times. It will never give up any chance to make trouble for China by colluding with secessionists in the island of Taiwan.

It is not surprising to see Japan's response, as a tense situation in the Taiwan Straits and the region is what Japan wants to see - this gives it excuses to further hype "China threat" with the US, gain more influence in the region, and achieve the purpose of scrapping the pacifist constitution, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Diao noted that in contrast to Japan, South Korea, another important US ally in Asia, has acted more prudently in receiving Pelosi. This showed that South Korea still tries to maintain a balance between China and the US, while Japan closely follows the US to seek its own interests under the US' regional strategy, Diao said, noting that all these differences are references for China to further adjust its diplomacy toward Japan and South Korea. 

Instead of meeting with Pelosi, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol had a 40-minute phone conversation with her, and many observers interpreted the arrangement as the Yoon government's effort to avoid a diplomatic burden brought by Pelosi. 

Xiang noted that in fact, Japan has made military preparations with the US on issues relating to the island of Taiwan. If the US wants to interfere, it will move from military bases in Japan. This is why Japanese leaders are hyping the current situation in the Taiwan Straits - they hope to decrease domestic opposition to increasing the defense budget and revising the pacifist constitution.

On the Taiwan question, Japan has stood with the US on the side of geopolitics, not the side of justice with the international community. And if the Kishida government chooses to further hinder China's reunification, it will further damage bilateral relations, Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. Yang said that the Kishida government should review the Joint Communique of Japan and China in 1972 and the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978.

Given the US-Japan alliance and the collusion of Taiwan secessionists with Japanese politicians, China should make full preparations when considering taking the island back, analysts said, warning that Japan should seriously reflect upon its historical wrongdoing to the Chinese people and in the island of Taiwan.