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Japan and Taiwan Lean on America as China Threat Increases

Japon Taiwan Defense

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Japan and Taiwan announced that they are beefing up their security systems against the possibility of an attack by the Chinese military on their territories. The United States is encouraging the efforts of Asian countries to have a solid military defense.

Japan will increase defense spending and capabilities through strong cooperation with the United States in order to maintain security in the Indo-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Taiwan expects the Biden administration to approve the purchase of an air-to-surface missile that has a range of more than 370 kilometers. Li Shih-Chiang, director of the Strategic Planning Department of the Ministry of National Defense, added at a press conference in the Taiwanese parliament that communication channels between Taiwan and the United States are normal.

Official launch of Taiwan’s new amphibious transport dock YU SHAN (LPD-1401) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, April 13, 2021. The warship cost 163 million U.S. dollars. (Image: EFE)

The joint statement between President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the Asia-Pacific region and specifically on the situation in the Taiwan Strait increased tensions with China, which has responded in defiant ways.

South Korea, on the other hand, has stayed out of the tension with China, but President Moon Jae-in urgently called for a meeting in the midst of new U.S. sanctions against Chinese tech giants.

Faced with China’s rapid growth, Taipei and Tokyo are tasked to take a more active role in their security alliance with Washington and to bring pressure to bear on other American allies to confront the Chinese Communist Party.

China represents the most important threat to the Americans, but also to Washington’s democratic allies. Japan’s leadership and Taiwan’s growing technological importance have paved the way for India, Australia and also the European Union to make a real presence in Indo-Pacific affairs; on the one hand in defense of the region’s security, and on the other hand denouncing China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide (L) during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., April 16, 2021 . (Image: EFE)

Visit from PM Yoshihide Suga

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s visit was the first by a foreign leader under the Biden administration. The joint statement by the leaders showed the U.S. military and political commitment to Japan, sending a message of reassurance to other allies in the region.

The statement made concrete increased defense cooperation for Japan to be equipped with the latest military technology, and also demonstrated Biden’s political will to defend Japan, even with nuclear weapons.

Inroads with Japan and Taiwan

Following Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Tokyo in late March 2021, Biden moves closer to Taipei, sending an unofficial entourage amid the simmering threat of the Chinese military’s invasion of Taiwan.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing Wen received a delegation led by former Senator Chris Dodd, Washington’s strongest outreach to Taipei in the Biden era.

Dodd said Washington is a “reliable friend” to Taipei: “I am confident that this administration will help it expand its international space and support its investment in self-defense.”

Former deputy secretaries of state close to Biden, Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, and the director of coordination for the U.S. State Department’s Taiwan Office, Dan Biers joined the delegation.

The visit of Biden’s envoys to Taiwan comes at the same time that Washington announces its commitment to Beijing to address climate change through John Kerry’s trip to the Asian giant.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, threatened the United States and called on it to “immediately stop official interactions in any form with Taiwan authorities and prudently handle Taiwan-related issues.”

American institutional firmness compels Biden to put in place mechanisms to combat the Chinese Communist Party’s advance, while maintaining the commitments made to American allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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