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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #281: February 22, 2005

China denounces statement on Taiwan

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

China denounces statement on Taiwan
(By Keith Bradsher, The New York Times) International Herald Tribune

Related Article:
US, Japan meddling in China's internal affair over Taiwan
By Xinhuanet, China View


Foreign and defense chiefs of Japan and the US discussed security in Asia and issued a joint Statement On Common Strategic Objective over the last weekend to confirm and reestablish their aim in maintaining peace in the region.

There were close to 20 issues mentioned in the statement, and one of the items invoked a furious response from China. In fact, there was very little report of the statement in Japan, indicating the reporters themselves did not consider it anything extraordinary, and there was virtually no response from the people who read it, as the statement seemed natural within the framework of Japan-US Security Pact.

The item that made the Chinese angry is where it said Japan and the US would "seek peaceful resolution of Taiwan Strait problem."

This is seemingly the first time Taiwan was mentioned in such an announcement, especially where Japanese government officials are involved. It used to be the formal view of the governments of Japan and the US that Taiwan is a part of China with its government residing in Beijing, but Taiwan has not given up its power to govern is a domestic dispute. This is supposedly a fact not to be interfered by other countries such as Japan or the US. Thus, it may seem China's fierce response has certain grounds.

But the writing in the statement does not dictate anything that needs to or should be done by the Chinese government. Japan and the US are concerned of the safety of the vessels traveling in the neutral waters in the region, that commercial ships sailing in the area would not be entangled in violent conflict, be it domestic conflict or not.

As a matter of fact, it is the Beijing regime itself that inspired such caution by Japan and the US. Every time there was an election in Taiwan or other form of movement seeking for independence, Beijing has intimidated Taiwan militarily by such actions as staging a naval military exercise in adjacent waters, increasing patrol planes and ships to close in on Taiwan, or send out huge troops on the shore facing Taiwan.

Recently, the relation between Japan and China has often been described as "hot economics and cold politics." It is now a buzzword in Japan -- the notion is expressed in four letter kanji, which could also be readily understood by the Chinese.

China has become Japan's largest trading partner last year overtaking the US, and the trend does not seem to falter. China itself is experiencing an economic expansion comparable to that of Japan in 1960s. Recent economic reports on China describe their developments passed the point of no return. If that is the case -- and there is no reason to doubt this assumption -- China no longer has the real option of closing down its borders at the will of politicians without the risk of the society retrograding into something like that of North Korea. The people, whether they realize it or not, is dependent on trading with, and inviting investments from, other countries. And, conversely, there is no doubt about Japan's dependence on China for maintaining its economy.

There are many in Japan, especially in the business sector, who fear the cold political relationship could hinder their business with China. As a matter of course, it would be better for the two governments to maintain an amicable relationship. But further strengthening of the economic ties, which is proceeding anyhow, could be the real catalyst to bring the two governments closer.

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