By Nicolás Promanzio
As the years go by, China’s attack on Taiwan to “reunify the two Chinas” is getting closer and closer.
According to the words of the US CIA director himself, China will invade the island “before 2030”, something that Japan is also very clear about since the fall of Taiwan could mean the beginning of the end of its nation.
Taiwan is today the cornerstone of China’s naval containment efforts.
Director Burns outlines what he thinks the Chinese have learned from Russia's invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine. #AspenSecurity pic.twitter.com/77YGq7doMs
— Aspen Security Forum (@AspenSecurity) July 20, 2022
Should it fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist dictatorship, Japan would almost automatically lose control of the supply routes that supply the country and the ability to keep the People’s Liberation Army Navy hemmed in against its own coastline.
Since 2023, official documents and interviews from Japanese Defense Ministry officials have clarified Japan’s position on the China-Taiwan conflict.
“Taiwan’s security is directly related to that of Japan.”
In other words, the Japanese understand better than anyone else that Taiwan’s subsistence implies regional security.
Today, Japan participates with the United States, Australia, and India in the QUAD, seeking to keep the seas and airspace open in the Indo-Pacific area.
In these waters, 80% of Japanese trade circulates and generates a position of vulnerability in case of destabilization of the region by a hypothetical Chinese action.
Open maps are a crucial tool in understanding many decision-makers actions in international politics.
The MarineTraffic.com image shows clearly and didactically how important the maritime space around Taiwan is for Japanese trade.
Throughout history, political and military leaders understood the importance of securing trade with the south.
In 1895, the Imperial Japanese Navy insisted on annexing Taiwan, and since then, the island has been an essential part of Japan’s defense thinking.
Losing Taiwan means giving the Chinese an enormous influence over Japan and the entire region.
On December 16, 2022, the Japanese government approved its new National Security Strategy.
In particular, this new fundamental defense policy document prescribes the right to launch counterattacks against targets on the territory of a potential enemy.
However, applying a preemptive strike on the territory of the alleged enemy is not allowed.
“Taiwan is a critical partner and valued friend of Japan, with whom Japan shares fundamental values, including democracy, and has close economic and personal ties,” the official document asserts.
“Peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is an indispensable element for the security and prosperity of the international community. Japan will continue to make various efforts based on its position that cross-Strait issues are expected to be resolved peacefully,” it adds.
Continuing this thread, in late February, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed that Tokyo is seeking to purchase up to 400 U.S. Tomahawk missiles to ” strengthen the capabilities of the country’s self-defense forces.”
The United States also understands the importance of Taiwan in Indo-Pacific geopolitics.
In February, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that a Marine artillery regiment based on the Japanese island of Okinawa would be reorganized as a Marine Littoral Regiment by 2025.
This will allow the United States to field a real contingent to engage China. Of course, an armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China is not in its immediate plans. Still, the Pentagon sees it as a critical deterrent to contain the communist military.
With information from Derecha Diario