Japan’s appointment of a de facto defense attaché in Taiwan is strategic malice and provocation
Published: Sep 13, 2023 07:29 PM
China Japan

China Japan

A Reuters report on Tuesday cited four sources saying that Japan has appointed a serving government official to act as its de facto defense attaché on the island of Taiwan. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council opposed this move on Wednesday.

If Japan goes through with this, it will be a serious matter and elevate tensions between China and Japan, and China will be bound to retaliate. The defense attaché role has until now been held by a retired Japan Self Defense Force officer. Last year, it was reported that Japan would appoint an active-duty government official to serve this role, but the move was halted after opposition from the Chinese side.

The Japanese side is now leaking information to the media concerning the appointment of this role going ahead. Its sinister intentions include the following:

First, Tokyo has a long-term plan to improve official relations with Taiwan, and will gradually advance these relations in a "salami-slicing" manner. The US is definitely willing to see Japan do this. The Japanese side feels that the US and the West are increasing official exchanges with Taiwan and playing by the edge. Now is an opportunity for Japan to follow the trend and make a "breakthrough."

Second, the recent tensions in China-Japan relations stem from Japan's dumping of the nuclear-contaminated wastewater. In response, China has imposed a comprehensive ban on importing Japanese fishery products. Tokyo harbors resentment and seeks to take action against Beijing, particularly by aligning its Taiwan policy adjustments.

Third, Tokyo aims to escalate the Taiwan question to get the West more involved. Its ultimate goal is to maintain the so-called status quo that Taiwan is not governed by the Chinese mainland, which is a form of support of "Taiwan independence."

To summarize, Japan is likely to become the most prominent external player in the Taiwan question, drawing closer to the US' Taiwan policy. This will lead to escalating tensions and conflicts between China and Japan. However, Japan also realizes it is no match for China and lacks the option of providing comprehensive support for "Taiwan independence" or militarily threatening China in a strategic, ambiguous manner.

Japan is a troublemaker with a thief's heart but a cowardly nature. It will increasingly become a diplomatic headache for China. It will not dare to take the lead to antagonize China, but its strategic status as a US henchman will remain unchanged.

China needs to be prepared for Japan's long-term strategic malice and "salami-slicing" provocations. We need to resolutely respond and retaliate tactically, making Japan pay the necessary price for each provocation. At the same time, we should disdain Japan's courage, capability and role and not engage in a war with it from a strategic sense, ensuring that our main focus is always on the game with the US.

Japan is just a running dog of the US, barking at us but afraid of the stick in our hands. That's what it is.

The author is a Chinese media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn