Japan’s Ministry of Defense: “If Russia’s aggression is tolerated, it may give the wrong impression that unilateral changes in the status quo are allowed in other regions, including Asia.”
The Russian military offensive against Ukraine will embolden China to invade Taiwan, Japanese military planners fear. “If Russia’s aggression is tolerated, it may give the wrong impression that unilateral changes in the status quo are allowed in other regions, including Asia,” the annual white paper published on Friday by the Japanese Ministry of Defense warned.
“Japan warned in the annual paper earlier on Friday of escalating national security threats, including repercussions from Russia’s war with Ukraine, China’s intimidation of Taiwan, and vulnerable technology supply chains,” the Japanese business daily Nikkei reported.
“Japan’s paper described Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “serious violation of international law” and raises concerns that its use of force to resolve a dispute established a precedent that threatens the security of neighboring Taiwan, which Beijing views as its own territory,” the newspaper added. (Read the summary of the 500-page Japan’s minister of defense white paper here.)
The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the details of the Japanese defense assessment:
Japan has warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could set a precedent for China’s ambitions in Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade province to be rejoined with the mainland.
In its annual defense report released on Friday, the Japanese government called Russia’s war a “serious violation of international law” that has wide-reaching ramifications.
“The political, economic and military rivalries between nations is clear, and the challenge posed to the international order is a global issue,” a white paper of the report said. The paper identified Russia as one of the key threats to the international order, alongside China and North Korea.
It said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risks sending the message to other countries “that an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force is acceptable.”
It also warned that Russia could increasingly lean on its nuclear capacity as a deterrent, which could in turn mean an uptick in activity around Japan, where Russian nuclear submarines are routinely active.
The report comes as China steps up its military aggression toward Taiwan, repeatedly sending fighters and nuclear-capable bombers to violate the island nation’s air defense zone. China’s President Xi Jinping has pledged to ‘re-unite’ Taiwan with the mainland, in line with the long-standing policy of the Chinese Communist Party.
Japan, which has territorial disputes with both China and Russia, is watching the unfolding military conflict in Ukraine very closely. In the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin forged close military ties with China. In November 2021, the Chinese and Russian defense chiefs signed a series of agreements creating a “de-facto” military alliance between the two powers.
This emerging military alliance is particularly threatening to Japan. “China and Russia have conducted joint nuclear bomber exercises over the Sea of Japan each year since 2019,” the London-based Financial Times noted on Friday.
With U.S. President Joe Biden visibly asleep at the wheel, Japan is ramping up its military to counter emerging external threats. Last month, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to “fundamentally reinforce Japan’s defense capabilities within the next five years.”DONATE
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