Japan is becoming wise to the threat China poses to both its country and Taiwan. In its newly published white paper, Japan’s defense ministry called China “a matter of serious concern” and “an unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge.” Largely to counter China, Japan will boost its total defense budget from 17.2 trillion yen planned from FY 2019 through FY 2023 to 43.5 trillion yen in FY 2024 through FY 2028, according to the white paper. This includes a tenfold increase in stand-off defense capabilities, a threefold increase in integrated air and missile defense capabilities, a tenfold increase in unmanned defense capabilities, and a doubling in investment in ammunition and guided missiles.
Meanwhile, Japan’s minister of defense recently stated that “…it would be very possible that we will provide some kind of support to Taiwan. I am not sure…whether it is going to be defense equipment support or…logistics support.”
Increased Threat to Japan
Japan recognizes the increased threat that China poses to Japan’s sovereignty. Recognizing China’s “tremendous military capabilities,” the white paper states that “China has been intensifying its activities across the entire region surrounding Japan, including in the East China Sea, particularly the area around the Senkaku Islands, the Sea of Japan, and the western Pacific Ocean including areas around the Izu and Ogasawara Islands, extending beyond the so-called first island chain to the second island chain.” Regarding China’s increased actions in the Sea of Japan, the paper specifically recognizes the intrusions of Chinese early warning aircraft, intelligence gathering aircraft, bombers and fighters in formation. The paper also drills down on the “continuous activities of Chinese warships and others around the Senkaku Islands,” namely incursions by Chinese navy and coast guard ships. The white paper also details Chinese military aircraft (early warning aircraft, fighters, and unmanned aerial vehicles) flying over the Pacific Ocean near Okinawa and Miyakojima Island.
Increased Threat to Taiwan
Japan recognizes that China “…is increasing military pressure on Taiwan and continues to entrench its military foothold in the South China Sea,” according to the white paper. The white paper mentions that “China launched nine ballistic missiles in August 4, 2022, five of which landed within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” and that these missiles were “perceived as a threat to local residents.”
Japan is also becoming wise to China’s “peaceful reunification” canard, noting that while this is China’s consistent official position vis a vis Taiwan, China “has not ruled out the possibility of the use of force.” Japan has also noted the “significant increase in number of Chinese aircraft entering Taiwan’s airspace,” which Japan calculates as increasing from 380 incidents in 2020 to 972 in 2021 to 1,733 in 2022.
Meanwhile, the CCP has responded to Japan’s awakening with propaganda that is patently false in attempts to absolve China while demonizing Japan. China’s defense minister stated that “[t]he Chinese military has always been a steadfast force in upholding world peace and stability, never challenging or threatening anyone,” according to Global Times. But in an obvious challenge and threat, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry contradicted the defense minister by stating that “We urge Japan to stop playing with fire on the Taiwan question. Those who play with fire will eventually get burnt,” according to Xinhua. And in a serious case of projection, a spokesman for China’s defense ministry claims that “…Japan…is moving further down the path of military expansion, posing a serious threat to regional and global peace, security and stability,” according to Global Times.
While a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman claimed that “Japan is not a country concerned in the South China Sea…,” that claim is false on its face as approximately 42 percent of Japanese maritime trade runs through that sea. And while the same spokeswoman also states that “the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair,” experts believe that a Chinese takeover of Taiwan could render Japan’s southwest islands “indefensible” and put significant pressure on the Senkaku Islands and Japanese trade. So, Taiwan’s security is of prime importance to Japan.
The CCP is increasing both its propaganda and military intimidation against Taiwan and Japan. But Japan is awakening to this and is preparing to defend both itself and the island. The United States needs to capitalize on this and shore up its other allies in the region to contain the CCP’s expansionist ambitions.
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Biden to lift sanctions on China in exchange for third promise to combat fentanyl
Reportedly President Joe Biden is making deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help improve anti-drug trafficking measures. China is one of the top fentanyl producers and distributors, culminating in a pandemic of fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the United States.
The Biden administration will be lifting sanctions on a Chinese government ministry, in exchange for bolstering anti-drug trafficking measures, Bloomberg reported. “We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to the New York Post. “That could then open the door to further cooperation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation noted that should a deal materialize, it will be at least the third time that China has promised to get tough on fentanyl. In 2016, China agreed to increase counter-narcotics operations, and Xi again agreed to launch a crackdown in 2018. Nonetheless, China and Mexico are “the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States,” according to a 2020 DEA intelligence report.
“China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
President Joe Biden and Xi are meeting for the first time in over a year during this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will crack down on Chinese companies manufacturing chemical precursors for fentanyl in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science, which the Commerce Department added to the Entity List in 2020 for “engaging in human rights violations and abuses” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
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