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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-May-2020
24-May-20 World View -- Minister suggests Japan will defend Taiwan against military invasion by China

Web Log - May, 2020

24-May-20 World View -- Minister suggests Japan will defend Taiwan against military invasion by China

Japan's pacifist constitution and 'collective self-defense'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Minister suggests Japan will defend Taiwan against military invasion by China


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and VP William Lai Qingde on inauguration day May 20 (Reuters)
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and VP William Lai Qingde on inauguration day May 20 (Reuters)

Japan's State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Keisuke Suzuki, said on Thursday Japan would not allow "people living in such a free society [as Taiwan] to be ravaged by the military power of a one-party dictatorship of the Communist Party," with the implication that Japan would militarily defend Taiwan from an invasion by China. This is a tricky argument to make in view of Japan's pacifist constitution.

The statement came in a Livedoor blog post in which Suzuki described how strategically important Taiwan is to Japan, and how their fates are tied together. In addition to challenging China's military power, he made several other statements making clear Japan's alignment with Taiwan against China. He congratulated Taiwan on the re-election of president Tsai Ing-wen, said that Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) is "of vital importance to the lives and health of people around the world."

An article in Taiwan's Central News Agency describes the contents of the blog post (translation):

"Keisuke Suzuki, the current member of the House of Representatives, posted an article on the livedoor blog. First of all, he paid tribute and congratulations on the election of President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Lai Qingde in Taiwan through democratic elections.

Suzuki said that, as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated clearly, "For Japan, Taiwan is an important partner and important friend sharing basic values." Whenever a disaster occurs, Taiwan and Japan exchange support at all levels, personnel exchanges, Economic cooperation is close and there is a strong sense of closeness to each other. Taiwan and Japan are adjacent and jointly face the threat of China, a powerful military dictatorship that continues to provoke provocations. Taiwan and Japan are communities of life.

He said that Japan is one of the few countries in the world facing a severe security environment. For Japan, based on the viewpoint of national interests, the significance of Taiwan is difficult to count. Japan must recognise the fact that Taiwan ís security and the strengthening of Taiwan-Japan relations are very important to Japan.

He pointed out that in terms of safety and security, due to the impact of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19, commonly known as Wuhan pneumonia), the media reported that the operations of the US military ís aircraft carriers and other operations were affected. In this case, peace and stability in the East China Sea, Taiwan Strait, and South China Sea, It is extremely important for Japan's security. The Chinese military has repeatedly invaded the "territorial waters" in the Diaoyutai waters, repeatedly carried out military provocative actions in the Miyako waters, and around Taiwan.

He emphasized that Taiwan's sharing of values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of navigation is an irreplaceable property for Japan. Japan absolutely cannot allow people living in such a free society to be ravaged by the military power of a one-party dictatorship of the Communist Party.

Suzuki pointed out that the World Health Assembly (WHA) has been held this week. This time, because of the pneumonia in Wuhan, China, many people know the World Health Organization. Not only are other international organizations such as the WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Taiwan ís attempt to join is obstructed by China, which poses substantial risks not only to Japan but also to international peace and security.

Regarding the WHO, Japan has repeatedly advocated Taiwan ís participation in the World Health Assembly. Taiwan ís success in the prevention of coronavirus diseases in 2019. If the world can share Taiwan ís lessons and experience, it should have great significance for the lives and health of the world.

Suzuki said that Taiwan is a democratic society with a population of more than 20 million, and is adjacent to China. The epidemic was controlled in the early stage of the epidemic. The reason why such results cannot be shared by the world is because the WHO is the WHO Secretariat and the Communist Party. One-party authoritarian military power China is at the mercy of political thinking. WHO, who emphasizes scientific views, is criticized for attaching importance to the political thinking of a particular country rather than human life and health. WHO should reflect deeply on it.

Suzuki believes that Taiwan's participation in ICAO is also very important. On Fei'an, because China's political intentions give rise to geographic gaps and will not allow Taiwan to participate in ICAO, Japan, which is adjacent to Taiwan, faces various risks and will suffer the most.

He said that from the point of view of the safety and peace of mind of Japanese citizens and people traveling to Japan, it is absolutely impossible to allow China's brutal actions and the inaction of the secretariats of international organizations."

Of particular note to Americans is that Suzuki implies that American defense may not be dependable because "the operations of the US military ís aircraft carriers and other operations were affected" due to the impact of the Wuhan Coronavirus (Covid-19).

On Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at the National People's Congress (NPC) made the usual call for "reunification" of Taiwan with China, but signaled an apparent policy shift by omitting the word "peaceful," as in "peaceful reunification," which is the phrase used in the past.

Japan's pacifist constitution and 'collective self-defense'

An examination of Keisuke Suzuki's blog post, quoted at length of above, reveals some complex legal reasoning.

Japan has a pacifist constituion, adopted at the insistence of the United States at the end of World War II. Article 9 of the constitution forbids most military action by Japan's military, but permits military action only when Japan itself is being attacked, and then only on Japanese soil.

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to revoke Article 9, but there is a strong pacifist political movement in Japan that has blocked such attempts.

Finally, in 2015, prime minister Shinzo Abe succeeded in getting the Diet (parliament), following a bitter debate involving fisticuffs, to pass a law reinterpreting the defense clause to include "collective self-defense," which would permit military action under some circumstances when an ally (such as the United States) is attacked. I discussed the meaning of "collective self-defense" in detail in 2014 in "5-May-14 World View -- Japan debates 'collective self-defense' to protect America and Japan".

So now Keisuke Suzuki is proposing to apply the "collective self-defense" concept to Taiwan.

I want to repeat the most important sentences of the blog post:

"For Japan, based on the viewpoint of national interests, the significance of Taiwan is difficult to count. Japan must recognise the fact that Taiwan ís security and the strengthening of Taiwan-Japan relations are very important to Japan.

He pointed out that in terms of safety and security, due to the impact of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19, commonly known as Wuhan pneumonia), the media reported that the operations of the US military ís aircraft carriers and other operations were affected. In this case, peace and stability in the East China Sea, Taiwan Strait, and South China Sea, It is extremely important for Japan's security. The Chinese military has repeatedly invaded the "territorial waters" in the Senkaku Island waters, repeatedly carried out military provocative actions in the Okinawa waters, and around Taiwan."

This is actually a legalistic explanation of why the "collective self-defense" reinterpretation of Article 9 can be used to defend Taiwan. It explains why a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is also a threat to Japan, and that even US intervention cannot be counted on.

Keisuke Suzuki's statement is going to be controversial in Japan, but it probably reflects reality in that Japan could not simply stand by while China flattened Taiwan.

The CCP also knows all this, which means that if they're going to invade Taiwan, then they'd also be at war with Japan (which is what my book is about), and would soon be at war with the US. So a "simple" invasion of Taiwan would be more difficult than it seems.

The Chinese plan for an actual invasion of Taiwan


Taiwan Airfields
Taiwan Airfields

"Navigator," a retired American Army Colonel 30 years experience as an Army Officer, who blogs at http://www.comingstorms.com, posted in the Generational Dynamics forum his analysis of how a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would proceed:

"The first thing I would tell you is to take a look at the adjoining map. This shows the locations of airfields in Taiwan territory.

Taiwan owns territory VERY close to China. The main islands are Quemoy (now more often called Kinmen county) and Matsu. Matsu is too far north to really be involved in the Chinese invasion plan, but not Quemoy (I will use the modern Kinmen hereafter).

Next, note the 3 airfields on islands between China mainland and Taiwan proper. These are Magong, Wangan, and Qimei. These are in the Pescardores islands (now called Penghu county). Magong is on the main island, which is also the location of MAJOR port facilities.

In an invasion of Taiwan, the Chinese cannot allow for enemy occupied airfields to remain along the invasion route, and along the supply lines from China to the landing beaches. Also, the invasion would have major airfields as immediate objectives.

In a rough outline, what the Chinese would probably do is:

  • Secure Kinmen
  • Secure Penghu (with its airfield and port facilities much closer to Taiwan than those in Mainland China)
  • Secure beachheads on Taiwan, with the immediate objectives including a good airfield (much better to fly in Reinforcements than ship by sea).

To do this, the Chinese would first have to mass troops around Xiamen. This would probably follow landing exercises that the Chinese would do everything possible to conceal.

Kinmen, so close to China, is not really defensible, and although the Nationalist Chinese were successful in fighting off a CCP invasion in 1949, I don't think they could do it now. The Chinese could conceivably secure Kinmen before the USA, if it even wanted to, could interfere.

With forces massed, they would then move quickly to sieze Kinmen. Once done, they would then move to take the Pescadores (Penghu county). This would be MUCH more difficult, as it would involve a major sea lift across about 80 miles of sea.

The US would have the opportunity to interfere with the Chinese landings in the Pescadores. But the Chinese could bring enough force to bear to defeat or neutralize the Carrier group sent to do so. This of course would mean war with the USA.

Once the Chinese have the Pescadores secured, they would, in my opinion, land to move to take either the Chiaya airport, or, more likely, the Tainan airport, as it is only about a mile and a half away from a decent landing beach (the Gold Coast), and there is not a lot of urban area between the beach and airfield.

The Pescadores would be a better staging area for a CCP invasion of Taiwan than mainland China due to the much closer proximity. The CCP forces would build up here, and the distance for ferrying troops and equipment would be less than 20 miles to Taiwan.

By this time, the Nationalist Chinese would have time to prepare for the landings and fighting. I think that they would have a good chance of fighting the CCP forces to a standstill, at least in the short term. Long term they will run out of resources (ammunition).

The Chinese could attempt landings closer to Taipei initially, but this is less likely. It would however be more in line with a quicker strike at Taiwan than landing in the Pescadores first. But this move would have to be preceded by taking the Matsu islands (and their Taiwan controlled airfields) first.

Note on the map that the open area of Taiwan is the strip on the western coast of the country. Further to the east the terrain becomes MUCH more rugged, and therefore much more militarily defensible."

The above is one possible description of China's military scenario in invading Taiwan. In my book, "War between China and Japan," I predicted that China would invade Japan to get revenge for World War II atrocities, and would invade Taiwan to annex it.

John Xenakis is author of: "World View: War Between China and Japan: Why America Must Be Prepared" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 2), June 2019, Paperback: 331 pages, with over 200 source references, $13.99 https://www.amazon.com/World-View-Between-Prepared-Generational/dp/1732738637/

Sources:

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-May-2020) Permanent Link
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