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Apr 19, 2021
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Suga and Biden

American President promised Japanese Prime Minister protection with nuclear bombs and missiles

Negotiations between Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Sugi and US President Joseph Biden ended in Washington. For both one and the other, it was the debut of high-level face-to-face diplomacy. Judging by the TV pictures with the greening lawn in front of the White House and the smiles covered with masks, the parties were satisfied with each other.

The list of issues for discussion was impressive: from the normalization of Japanese-South Korean relations and climate problems to the inadmissibility of racial discrimination in the United States of persons of Asian descent. However, the discussion focused on issues of geopolitics and military strategy in East Asia, or, as they say now, in the Indo-Pacific region. The two leaders outlined joint actions to “curb an assertive China,” which, having gained economic power, set out to play an independent political role in the world. Moreover, it creates an impressive military potential.

To contain the growing strength of China, the United States and Japan have agreed together. The reason for justifying such a policy was invented long ago: the protection of tiny uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China, and in Japan – Senkaku. These islands, according to Beijing, have long been Chinese, which is confirmed by documents and maps of the 15th century. Then, during the Japanese-Chinese war unleashed by Tokyo, the Diaoyu was captured by the Japanese and included in the Ryukyu archipelago (Okinawa). And after the return of the administrative rights to Ryukyu by the Americans in 1972, they “returned” to the Japanese and Senkaku, with which China strongly disagrees.

The Chinese reinforce their claims to the Diaoyu by sending patrol and fishing vessels to the waters washing them. In the past, there have been cases of groups of Chinese youth landing on uninhabited islands with Chinese national flags flying on them. In recent years, the Japanese coast guard has tightened control over the waters around the islands, with which Beijing cannot agree. And this year, the Chinese and Japanese authorities allowed the teams of their patrol boats, if necessary, to open not only warning, but also aimed fire.

Fearing armed clashes around the disputed islands, which could expand to the scale of a local war, the Japanese government has long asked Washington to officially confirm that the United States views Senkaku as a sovereign Japanese territory. Therefore, the 5th article of the 1960 bilateral security treaty on the protection of Japan by the American armed forces in the event of an attack on it applies to these islands. Under Trump, statements about the inclusion of Senkaku in the US zone of responsibility were made from time to time by American generals, but this was not enough for Tokyo. The Japanese government wants to make Beijing understand that in a clash with Japan, the Chinese will deal directly with the US Armed Forces.

And now the goal has been achieved. Accusing the PRC of “authoritarianism”, “Escalation of the sea pressure in the East China and South China Seas, as well as in the strengthening of military pressure on Taiwan”, Suga and Biden stated that “The bilateral alliance is based on common values ​​such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law; this is in clear contrast to what Washington calls authoritarian states like China. “… United States “Reaffirmed their unwavering support for the defense of Japan in accordance with their security treaty, including through the use of nuclear capabilities,” the joint statement said, and also agreed on a US commitment to defend the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. “, notes the Japanese agency Kyodo Tsushin. “Together we oppose any unilateral action aimed at undermining the Japanese administration of the Senkaku Islands.”, The two leaders said in a statement.

By blaming China for creating tensions, the Biden administration was able, among other things, to exploit the Senkaku problem. Diaoyu Dao as a pretext for aggravating the situation in East Asia, up to and including nuclear blackmail.

However, Americans do not like unrequited gifts. In return, Biden demanded that Sugi, in fact, change Japan’s position on Taiwan, defending it from China, which would lead to serious, very sensitive consequences for Tokyo. The fact is that, unlike Washington, which, despite its agreements with Beijing, often violates the principle of recognizing “one China”, the Japanese government has until recently carefully avoided this.

As White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki warned, Biden in talks with Suga talked about “China’s violent actions against Taiwan”… And the Japanese prime minister, risking a significant deterioration in relations with the PRC, for the first time in half a century agreed to make a joint statement with the American president on Taiwan. Taiwan was directly mentioned in a joint statement by the leaders of the United States and Japan for the first time since 1969 (when Richard Nixon and Eisaku Sato were negotiating).

By linking the Senkaku issue to Taiwan, Suga emphasized the importance of Taiwan’s security. The Japanese Prime Minister condemned China’s increased activity in the disputed islands. “Prime Minister Suga and I today reaffirmed our strong partnership within the US-Japan Alliance to ensure our common security.”– Biden said after the talks. Aware that Beijing will appreciate “The concern expressed by Suga and Biden about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan region, as well as the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region” as interference in the internal affairs of the PRC, the Japanese prime minister nevertheless agreed with these statements.

I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. China expressed “deep dissatisfaction” with the joint statement of the leaders of the United States and Japan on Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the PRC. This is stated in a message on the website of the Chinese Embassy in the United States. “The issues of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are related to the internal affairs of China. The issues of the East China Sea and the South China Sea concern the territorial integrity of the PRC, its legal rights and interests. All of these issues affect the fundamental interests of China and do not allow for interference (from outside), – noted the diplomatic mission. – We express deep dissatisfaction and strongly oppose the joint statement by the leaders of the United States and Japan. China will firmly uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests. “

It is noteworthy that, judging by the open press, the leaders of the United States and Japan did not mention Russia at the talks. Although it is difficult to imagine that there was no conversation about the policy towards our country. One of the explanations for such restraint may be concern about creating a favorable atmosphere at possible meetings of Biden and Sugi with President V. Putin. Perhaps neither the American nor the Japanese want to burn bridges ahead of time. Another explanation may be the persisting hopes in Washington and Tokyo that Moscow will be able to distance, if not tear it away, from Beijing and win over to its side.

Cover photo: REUTERS / Tom Brenner

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