onsdag 19. januar 2022

The United States and Japan Should Prepare for Chinese Aggression Against Taiwan

As China continues to increase its pressure against Taiwan, the questions of whether it will eventually use force to bring Taiwan under its control and how the United States should address this issue have moved to the center of the U.S. foreign policy debate. An often overlooked but critical factor is the extent to which any U.S. response to Chinese aggression would require the use of its forces in Japan and significant Japanese operational and logistic support. 

In the face of growing Chinese military capabilities and weakening deterrence, the United States and Japan need to make preparing for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait a top priority for the alliance. How well the United States and Japan are able to deter an attack on Taiwan and respond jointly and effectively to Chinese aggression if deterrence fails could determine Asia’s future, as well as their own.

There is a growing recognition in Japan that a Chinese occupation of Taiwan would fundamentally challenge its security. If China were to station People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces on Taiwan, its military would be only 110 kilometers from Yonaguni Island, Japan’s westernmost point. Such an outcome would render it far more difficult for Japan to defend Yonaguni, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and Okinawa. Given that China views the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as a part of “Taiwan Province,” China could attempt to seize them during a conflict over Taiwan.