Tokyo, Japan – The Japanese government has injected itself into the Taiwan Strait with increasing tension.
Last Friday, in Japan Taiwan has sent 1.24 million doses Regarding AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 jab, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has accused China of blocking access to vaccines since the pandemic began in the worst outbreak of coronavirus.
Beijing considers its self-governing island in Taiwan (161km off the coast of China) as part of its territory and has not ruled out using force to achieve its goal. He has taken an increasingly proactive stance since Tsai was first elected in 2016, saying he wants independence for the island’s 23.6 million people, and tensions have risen over traditional allies, including the United States, to side with Taiwan.
Japan has taken a calmer approach over the decades.
But with China’s growing economic and military strength and the ongoing challenge of sovereignty over Japan’s Kinkaku Islands, known to the Chinese as the Diaoyutai Islands, the Tokyo government is changing.
“Japanese conservatives have really taken the Taiwan issue as a way to draw lines with the Chinese,” said Daniel Sneider, a professor of East Asian Studies at Stanford University.
China’s rise has worried many in Japan.
In recent years, Beijing has seen a growing demand in the Asia-Pacific region, and has shown its military strength in the East China Sea and southern China to protect its maritime and territorial claims in disputed seas.
Taiwan also claims the South China Sea he felt hot from Beijing.
Last year, the Chinese military sent aircraft to the island’s airspace almost daily, and 25 Chinese military aircraft flew in on April 12th.
‘Taiwan security interest’
In order to cope with China’s strong growth, Japan is building security relations with countries like Australia and India and strengthening its alliance with the United States, which Beijing also sees as a strategic competitor.
When US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met in Washington (DC) in April, China was the focus of their talks. For the first time in more than half a century, the joint statement of the leaders including a reference “The Importance of Peace and Stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Moreover, when the Japanese Ministry of Defense released its draft “white paper” last year, it mentioned the Taiwan issue for the first time.
“The stability of the situation around Taiwan is important for the security of Japan and the stability of the international community,” the draft document says.
Beijing condemned Taiwan’s stance on Japan-US because of its involvement in internal affairs, accusing the two countries of “forming cliques and confronting the blocs.” Chinese officials have previously described concerns about his military and economic connotations as part of the “Cold War mentality” that seeks to contain him.
In this broad context, Japan, which once ruled Taiwan as a colony, jumped to the island’s aid with the intention of securing a supply of the coronavirus vaccine.
As Sneider said, “Japan is proving its de facto interest in Taiwan’s continued independence and security. It’s very simple. “
Beijing has denounced Japan’s moves.
When the first reports from Tokyo that he was thinking of sending Taifei vaccines appeared in late May, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin gave a strong response. “We are determined to put on political shows against those who exploit the pandemic or to dive into China’s internal problems,” he said. “I have noticed that Japan can almost ensure an adequate supply of vaccines at home.”
He added, “I would like to emphasize that vaccine support must be returned to its original purpose, which is to save lives, and should not become a tool for selfish political gain.”
The fact that Wang said he was involved in politics was not entirely wrong.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has long been a “Chinese hawk,” was featured in several reports in both the Japanese and Taiwanese media, the last time the vaccines were delivered to Taiwan.
On June 3, the Sankei Shinbun newspaper reported that Abe, who resigned last September, took a close part in the talks and noted the large donations Taiwan has made to Japan. The 2011 earthquake and devastating tsunami.
“Great victory for Taiwan”
In Taiwan, the Japanese donation was a victory for the Tsar government.
Tsai, received worldwide praise for initially treating pandemic after facing public outrage Sudden increase in COVID-19 infections that started last month. To date, the island has recorded 11,968 infections and 333 deaths, most of which occurred in the last month.
Embedded in less than 3 percent of Taiwanese people, anger is growing due to a shortage of COVID-19 jabs.
Taiwan says the crisis has exacerbated China.
On May 26, Tsaik complained that China had used its influence to block the large delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Beijing has denied the claim, saying Taiwan has refused to offer vaccines. Wang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, also accused the Tsai Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of prioritizing “political manipulation over cooperation against the epidemic.”
Lev Nachman, a study visitor at the National University of Taiwan, said the DPP has a dilemma.
“The reality is that Taiwan needs vaccines,” he said, “and it’s Catch-22 that the DPP government really can’t politically vaccinate from the PRC.”
If the pro-independence DPP were to go to the continent to seek help, it could undermine the legitimacy of the party as a force to govern itself.
But “If you get vaccinated in Japan, it’s politically no less important than getting vaccinated from the PRC, and that’s of course a big win for Taiwan,” Nachman said.
Moreover, the process of bringing vaccines from Japan allowed politicians from different rivals in the DPP to make a rare display of unity, stating that they acted responsibly for the benefit of the people, even though the Taiwanese authorities are still quite far behind to get vaccines. for all the inhabitants of the island.
Supporters of the pro-Beijing opposition party as well Kuomintang, Nachman said they feel “calm appreciation” for Japan.
Many Taiwanese also went on social media to express their gratitude when the news of the Japanese donation arrived. Several people posted photos of them traveling to Japan in pre-pandemic times as a way to show their appreciation and closeness to northern islanders, according to Brian Chee-Shing Hioe, editor of the online magazine New Bloom, which covers youth culture. and politics in Taiwan and Asia-Pacific.
Hioe also delved into a broader strategic context, noting that Japan’s donation made another commitment to the U.S. a couple of days later. 750,000 doses.
“The United States was coordinating this behind the scenes,” Hyo confirmed, “for the purpose of consolidating this relationship between Japan and Taiwan, which is useful for regional security.”