The diplomatic acumen of Japan should not be taken lightly and the latest development goes on to prove the same. Although Joe Biden was taking the threat of China over Taiwan and maintained strategic ambiguity, Japan’s overt support for Taiwan and the possibility that Yoshihide Suga might support Taiwan during his US visit has forced the USA to change its tone.
In line with this, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday issued a warning to China stating it would be a “serious mistake” for anyone to attempt to change Taiwan`s “status quo” amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over the island country`s sovereignty. In addition to this, the United States has also sent its personnel to Taiwan a few days ago to survey its tank maintenance and training capabilities.
The actions which forced the USA to toe the line which is in the interest of Japan, Taiwan and its Indo-Pacific allies comes on the backdrop of the last-ditch effort by the Chinese to placate Japan. A desperate China took to drawing a red line for Tokyo on Monday, and foreign minister Wang Yi dialled his Japanese counterpart – Toshimitsu Motegi on no less than a holiday. While the Chinese public was visiting graves and paying tribute to ancestors on the last day of the “tomb sweeping” Qingming Festival, Wang had an urgent message to convey to his counterpart in Tokyo.
The conversation between the two foreign ministers lasted over 90 minutes. Although Wang Yi did not raise the Taiwan bogey directly, his message to Tokyo was more than clear, and it came straight from Xi Jinping, “China hopes that Japan, as an independent country, will look at China’s development in an objective and rational way, instead of being misled by some countries holding biased view against China.”
TFI had earlier reported that Japanese and US defence chiefs had agreed in their recent meeting in Tokyo to closely cooperate in the event of a military clash between China and Taiwan – a development which was seen as a precursor to the announcement of a joint effort to repulse a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
China is also fearful of the increasing practical cohesion between India and Japan. For the first time, India has allowed Japan to make a humongous investment in the islands, via an official development assistance (ODA) project, paving the way for Japan to put in over ¥4.02 billion, or ₹265 crores in investments to the island chain.
Japan has been offering active military and diplomatic support and is emboldening states to rise against Chinese belligerence. A few days ago Japanese and US defence chiefs agreed to closely cooperate in the event of a military clash between China and Taiwan. Given the continued non-compliance of China to recognise and respect the Japanese sovereign territories and waters, Japan no longer seems in the mood to stay on the defensive. Now even China is realising the threat that Japan could pose with its aggressive posturing.
All these developments and the fact that Japan will not be in line with the Biden administration if it wants to stay back and watch its allies get steamrolled by the Chinese Communist Party and its PLA. This is the reason why Joe Biden and his administration have been forced to come in overt support of Taiwan, shedding its façade of strategic ambiguity.