For the first time, Japan has explicitly warned over Taiwan’s security in its annual defense white paper on July 12.
The direct wording on the Taiwan issue in the 2021 defense paper is very different from previous years, which carefully avoided any words that could provoke the Chinese communist regime.
The white paper states that Taiwan’s stability is “important for Japan’s security” and for the international community, calling on officials to “pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis.”
It points out the “overall military balance between China and Taiwan is tilting in China’s favor, and the gap appears to be growing year by year.”
Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, is a sovereign country and an ally of the United States. However, the Chinese communist regime sees it as part of China’s territory and has recently increased its threats toward the island nation’s independence and security. It has become the norm for Chinese military aircraft to fly around Taiwan or invade Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
The Chinese regime’s leader Xi Jinping warned the United States and other Western countries at the party’s centennial commemoration last week, “No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s determination, will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Japan said in the white paper that they would pay attention to the development of this situation.
“As China rapidly enhances its military power, changes in the military power balance between the United States and China may possibly affect the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” the white paper points out. “Therefore, it is necessary to pay more attention to the military movements of the two countries in the South China Sea and Taiwan.”
It highlights the Chinese regime’s continuing military expansion over the past 20 years, pointing out China’s military expenditure is at least 16 times that of Taiwan, and the gap between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is expanding every year. The white paper said that China’s military budget of $181.6 billion is already four times that of Japan.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi emphasized the importance of cooperation between Japan and the United States in regards to regional security. He said that the Japanese Ministry of Defense would not only cooperate with the United States, but also with Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand, Britain, France, and other European countries, and would make more contributions to the maintenance of regional and international peace and security.
The white paper states, “The Alliance is the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the region, and we will strive to further strengthen its deterrence and response capabilities in order to further solidify the unshakable bond of the Japan–U.S. Alliance.”
Taiwan has welcomed Japan’s unusually direct statement, while the Chinese regime’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the white paper is “extremely wrong and irresponsible.”
The white paper comes after recent commitments by Japanese defense officials to defend Taiwan together with the United States. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi linked Taiwan’s security situation directly to that of Japan, and asked the United States to share details of plans to defend Taiwan.
Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said earlier this month that Japan is closely watching the situation in the Taiwan Strait.