By Fong Yuen
Biden and Yoshihide Suga have met, and even co-hosted a press conference. After the meeting, they issued a joint communiqué. Doing all that they were supposed to, it shows how much the two national leaders value this meeting. After the show ended, the vibration continued, and the whole world is discussing it.
The U.S.-Japan joint statement did not put forth a strong stance towards the CCP. From the language, it looks plain and low-key, yet focused. The issues of climate change and 5G cooperation were mentioned but not spelled out. Arms and high-tech competition also remained vague. To make the message clear, the joint statement’s focus was placed on how to jointly resist the CCP. The crux of the joint statement was illustrated in one line: “We’re going to work together to prove that democracies can still compete and win in the 21st century.”
Regarding the CCP’s expansion, there is a bi-partisan anti-CCP stance in both the ruling and opposition parties in the U.S. In Japan, public opinion is also one-sided. Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has pro-China forces, but it is an internal problem to be resolved internally. In short, the foundation set by the leaders of both countries is long-term and strategic, not one that is of an impromptu motive or a flippant move. It is real and not a child’s play. It is a vow of life and death.
What’s surprising is that on the issue of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, there was a totally undisguised line of “The United States underscored its unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan through the full range of its capabilities, including nuclear.” This sentence was fully out there, a totally different tone from the rest of the text, as if it was simply “stuffed” into the statement upon completion. In the history of U.S.-Sino relations, the U.S. has never thrown out such strong words like “nuclear”. This sentence was not necessary, and what needed to be done could still have been done. Yet why waving around “nuclear”?
Given the CCP’s personality, of course they would not “eat it up”. The U.S. has nuclear, and so does China. If the U.S. dares to use it, why wouldn’t China as well (Mao Zedong has long declared that China is preparing to sacrifice half of its population in a nuclear war)? If nuclear is really used, then it will be a world war, one that is a big gamble for human destruction. Knowing that these words weigh a lot, if it wasn’t made clear, then the meaning would not translate. To ensure that Japan is protected, how far will the U.S. go? This sentence wasn’t only meant for the Japanese ruling and opposition parties, but also for South Korea and Taiwan, as well as all of the U.S.’ allies. This is to show that to resist the CCP and to safeguard universal values, how much of a price the U.S. is willing to pay!
With such unwavering promise from the U.S., how is Japan not to give it all? This is a reassurance from Biden to Yoshihide Suga, meaning that the big brother has everything under control. Should anyone dare to bully you, big brother will never let it happen. As such, Japan can only offer solemn determination to follow the U.S., to be in it together, life or death, without hesitation.
The choice of words in the joint statement was low-key, yet mixed in there was the “nuclear bomb” which totally changed the tone of the statement. When nuclear war has become an option, what else is off the table? A life-and-death contract, a swearing of an oath. The Heavens know, and so does the earth. You know, I know, even the opposition knows. The whole world knows. This is what Biden wants, and this is also what Yoshihide Suga wants. Now both of them are happy.
What Biden and Yoshihide Suga needed to come to a consensus was neither strategy nor details, but attitude and stance. Once attitude and stance are set, what follows will be easy. There is only one path, and all you have to do is go towards it. Japan will do its part, and so will the U.S. In the end, both will arrive at the same place.
U.S. support for Taiwan has been undisguised. Japan has followed suit, and its stance is increasingly clear. The message for the CCP is, “Don’t you misjudge. If you touch Taiwan, you’re making a huge mistake! U.S.’ Taiwan strategy is the military “island-hopping”, one that was used during WWII (also known as leapfrogging), which is a step-by-step approach to bypass heavily fortified enemy islands instead of trying to capture every island in sequence en route to a final target. You do a little today, and a little tomorrow. It does not look like much from the everyday perspective, but the accumulated effort will be considerable. As long as Taiwan does not declare independence, the U.S. will continue to dance along this bottom line. Other than stamping its feet, all the CCP could do is to start a war. The consequences of starting a war are serious, therefore it is not a decision to be taken lightly. As such, the Taiwan Strait issue has become a nightmare that keeps bothering the CCP.
Taiwan has got used to the daily warplane disturbances. Since the CCP cannot go ahead and start a war, it could only let its anger towards the Americans out on Hongkongers. What can be certain is that Hong Kong’s situation will continue to worsen, yet life isn’t going to be good for the CCP either.
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