Japan's Patriot missile deployment on Miyako Island slammed as further attempt to interfere in Taiwan question
Published: May 09, 2023 07:49 PM Updated: May 10, 2023 01:08 AM
Japanese Self-Defense Force ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors are seen in position on the grounds in Ishigaki, Okinawa prefecture on February 7, 2016.Photo: AFP

Japanese Self-Defense Force ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors are seen in position on the grounds in Ishigaki, Okinawa prefecture on February 7, 2016 .Photo: AFP

Japan announced on Monday that it has deployed Patriot missiles on Miyako Island, a strategically important node on the "first island chain" close to the island of Taiwan. This move, as Chinese experts said on Tuesday, is yet another Japanese attempt to interfere in the Taiwan question.

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has deployed PAC-3 ground-to-air guided missiles at its Miyako Island base in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said on Monday during a press conference, Jiji Press reported.

PAC-3 missiles are also deployed by Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force on Ishigaki and Yonaguni islands, Matsuno said.

While Matsuno said the Patriot missiles target potential long-range ballistic missile launches from North Korea, media on the island of Taiwan quickly pointed out that the locations are closer to the island than to North Korea. 

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) frequently sends warplanes and warships between the island of Taiwan and Yonaguni Island in routine patrols and drills encircling the island of Taiwan, as well as through the Miyako Strait into the West Pacific for far sea exercises, according to press releases from the defense authority on the island of Taiwan and Japan's Ministry of Defense.

Japan's Patriot missile deployment in its southwestern islands obviously has nothing to do with the Korean Peninsula, which is far away, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Its real purpose is to arm the islands with anti-air and anti-ship missiles and prepare for a military intervention in the Taiwan question, so it is a very provocative move aimed at China, the expert said.

In response, China should further enhance its capabilities in countering potential military intervention attempts by external forces, Wei said.

A PLA Navy flotilla consisting of a Type 055 large destroyer, two Type 052D destroyers, a Type 054A frigate and a Type 903A comprehensive replenishment ship sailed from the Sea of Japan through the Soya Strait into the Pacific Ocean from Friday to Saturday, Japan's Ministry of Defense Joint Staff said in a press release on Monday.

Observers said that it seems to be a routine PLA far sea training exercise, as Type 055 large destroyers have been leading flotillas in similar voyages over the past few years, with some of them circumnavigating Japan and others reaching the Bering Sea to locations near the US state of Alaska.

Japan also expressed support for Manila as the Philippines could start joint patrols in the South China Sea with the US and Australia in the third quarter of 2023, CNN Philippines reported on Monday.

Japan should reflect on its history of aggression, not walk on the path of militarism once again and not get tied to the US' chariot of confronting China, analysts said. Other countries that have suffered from Japanese aggression in World War II, including South Korea and the Philippines, should also be concerned about Japan's military developments, they said.