Taiwan must be protected ‘as a democratic country’
As China continues to threaten Taiwan’s self-governing island of more than 20 million people, Japan has pledged to work with the US to preserve the island.
Japan has warned of the growing threat presented by Chinese-Russian cooperation, saying it is vital to “wake up” to Beijing’s pressure on Taiwan and preserve it “as a democratic country.”
The fate of Taiwan and Okinawa, according to State Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama, is critical in limiting China and Russia’s military power in the Western Pacific.
“We are family with Taiwan,” Yasuhide Nakayama, Japan’s state minister of defense, said at an online event hosted by the Hudson Institute.
Its safety is “obviously tied to the safeguarding of Okinawa,” which is part of Japan.
On Okinawa, the Japan Air and Maritime Self-Defense Forces, as well as American Air Force, Marine Corps, and naval support facilities, as well as service members’ families, are concentrated.
He described Okinawa and Taiwan as “sort of like nose and eyes, incredibly near.”
China recently launched 28 fighters across the Taiwanese straits, with some flying into Taiwanese airspace to scare Taipei, according to Nakayama (seen below).
He continued, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, is also attempting to give the impression that Taiwan is surrounded by sending ships, including an aircraft carrier, fighter planes, and bombers on patrols and exercises east of Taiwan. Some of these drills are carried out in collaboration with the Russians, “posing numerous hazards to Taiwan.”
As China and Russia behave more aggressively in the Indo-Pacific, he warned, “we have to show deterrence to them,” not simply defense. To make their troops more interoperable, they have increased collaborative military drills in the region.
Tokyo is “thinking about stand-off capabilities” for the future, according to Nakayama, as well as launching new satellite constellations to detect hypersonic cruise missiles that Beijing and Moscow have just developed.
He also revealed that Tokyo is continuing to buy aircraft and other technologies from Washington, D.C., including the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, and that both countries should conduct regular exercises so that individual service members have a better understanding of how their allies think and operate.
He then urged the US to examine Japan’s technical security capabilities, such as “space debris cleanup” to defend satellite constellations.
Future generations in Japan and the United States, according to Nakayama, may doubt their countries’ decision to accept a “One China” policy in the early 1970s, which united mainland China and Taiwan as one country.
He stated that “democratic countries must protect democratic countries and allies” against “autocrats” such as China and Russia.
The security domains, according to Nakayama, were air, sea, land, cyber, and space, as well as electronic warfare.
Nakayama noted how close the US and Japan had gotten since the attack on Pearl Harbor and the end of World War II in the Pacific with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki several times during the talk.
“It’s now the most powerful alliance; none can compare,” he remarked.
What is “happening around Japan” should, nevertheless, “be a very serious problem for the United States, Europe, and friends.” When it comes to China, Nakayama points to the country’s increased spending in ballistic missile submarines as well as the parallel development of the JL-3 sea-launched ballistic missile capable of striking the continental United States.
“This is a big, big threat not just for us,” but also for the US and Europe, he said, alluding to both the longer-range sub-launched missiles and China’s artificial island construction.
At the same time, “the Russians are exercising [naval forces] right off [the] western flank of Honolulu” and doing ground and air maneuvers with China along their shared borders, according to Nakayama.