China’s English language state-run Communist party mouthpiece Global Times has responded to the earlier surprising words of Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, who for the first time said Japan and the US should defend Taiwan together, given that any Chinese invasion of Taiwan would trigger Japan’s Self-Defense Forces’ ability for collective self-defense.
Nikkei Asia had cited the deputy PM on Tuesday: “If China invades Taiwan, Tokyo may interpret the move as a ‘threat to Japan’s survival’ and deploy the Self-Defense Forces to exercise collective self-defense,” Aso stated. The expected denunciation from Beijing says Tokyo has “gone too far” and “stretched its hands too long.”
Global Times asserted in its ultra-inflammatory headline: “Japan will dig its own grave if it crosses red line of Taiwan question” and in the article invoked historical atrocities part of Japan’s WWII-era “colonial ideology” to assert “Japan needs to remember that its survival depends on whether Japan understands its situation correctly – not on how China is prepared to resolve the Taiwan question.”
At the moment Japan is locked in its own direct standoff with China over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, recently giving its coast guard looser rules of engagement in dealing with Chinese fishing vessels, believed used of China to attempt a quiet de facto takeover of the disputed territory. Recall that in the very first phone call early this year between Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Japan’s Defense Minister, the Biden administration had reaffirmed a previously agreed upon US commitment to defending Japanese sovereignty over the Senkakus.
The GT op-ed references the contested islands issue as the reason why there’s a growing hawkish, and somewhat unprecedented outlook (given its post-world war pacifist constitution) coming from Tokyo:
For the hawks in Japan, especially the extreme right wings, they are actually focused on two issues, one is the Diaoyu Islands, and the other is the island of Taiwan. If Taiwan secedes from China, China’s overall comprehensive strength will be greatly weakened. Japan does not want to see a strong China nearby. So it is more in Japan’s practical interest, especially of certain politicians, to separate the island from China.
The author, Hong Kong-based pro-China military commentator Song Zhongping followed with stating the obvious that “Japan does not dare to confront China alone” given it’s weak military status and lack of independent combat capability… hence Aso this week urging for greater US-Japan military cooperation, which has also lately been demonstrated in joint military drills. “If Japan involves itself in the Taiwan question militarily, it will be Japan digging its own grave…Japan itself is powerless against the Chinese military,” GT wrote.
How to make friends and influence people. https://t.co/PDleK1DqiK
— Vic B'Stard (@VicBStard) July 8, 2021
…leading to this ultimate conclusion and specific threat: However, if Japan cooperates with the US to carry out military actions against China, especially over the island of Taiwan or Diaoyu Islands, Beijing will view the move as engaging in a military conflict with China. In this sense, Japan will become the target of China’s military strike. This will endanger Japan’s survival.