On April 16, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the first foreign leader to visit the Biden White House, issued a joint statement lashing out at China.
The statement, which covers a range of issues, includes the following: “We also recognize the importance of deterrence to maintain peace and stability in the region. We oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea. We reiterated our objections to China’s unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea.”
On Taiwan specifically, the statement adds, “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.”
What caught the most attention, though, was the statement’s assertion: “The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear.”
The statement continues: “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes.” This would apply to Japan’s claim to the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
Biden and Suga pledged to intensify military cooperation “across all domains, including cyber and space, and to bolster extended deterrence.”
At the press conference, Biden said: “Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for the U.S./Japanese Alliance, and for our shared security. We [are] committed to working together to take on the challenges from China and issues like the East China Sea, the South China Sea, as well as North Korea.”
Suga said: “We also had serious talks on China’s influence over the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and the world at large. We agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas and intimidation of others in the region.”
China’s Global Times responded with an editorial statement:
“U.S. President Joe Biden and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday issued a joint statement which mainly focused on dealing with China. The statement talked a lot about the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, an alliance being touted as a ‘U.S.-Japan global partnership for a new era.’ In the statement, the two countries pledge to work together to resist ‘challenges to the free and open rules-based international order.’ The statement outlined the situation in the Indo-Pacific region, accusing China of conducting ‘economic and other forms of coercion’ in the region. It also mentioned the Taiwan question — the first time since 1969 American and Japanese top leaders have done so in their joint statement.
“‘An ocean separates our countries, but commitments to universal values and common principles, including freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, international law, multilateralism, and a free and fair economic order, unite us,’ said part of the statement. But this sentimental rhetoric is hypocritical. U.S.-Japan ties are a kind of relationship where a victorious country of World War II dominates a defeated country, Japan. There is a strong ‘master-servant’ feature in this relationship in terms of diplomacy. The joint statement has strengthened the compulsive dominance the U.S.’s extreme China policy has on Japan’s diplomacy, while Japan has actively and cautiously catered to it.
“Japan has become the country in Asia that follows the U.S. policy of containing China most closely. There are two reasons for this: First, as mentioned above, the U.S. has so far maintained its military occupation of Japan and it can be said that Japan’s diplomacy is only at a ‘semi-sovereign’ level. It’s unlikely for Japan to contradict the U.S.
“Second, Japan is the Asian country that most wants to contain China. The biggest ‘shared value’ between the U.S. and Japan is actually the jealousy and hatred they both have against China’s strong development momentum. The U.S.’s hegemonic thinking can’t accept its status being matched by China, while Japan can’t accept becoming a ‘second-class country’ compared to China, again.
“Has Japan forgotten how many times it inflicted devastation on China? Has China ever truly harmed Japan and can Japan cite an example? The tiny Diaoyu Islands are just a territorial dispute between China and Japan, and in Asia there are many similar disputes. But Japan takes the dispute as a strategic-level issue and hypes it up every day. What’s the point of it?
“The U.S.-Japan alliance could evolve into an axis that can bring fatal disruption to Asia-Pacific peace, just like the Germany-Italy-Japan axis alliance before and during WWII. The core intention of the U.S. is to maintain its hegemony and contain China’s development through violating international laws and rules. The arbitrary acts of the U.S. could eventually end the peace in Asia-Pacific. And Japan is positioning itself as the top Asian accomplice of the U.S.’s vicious policy.
“Washington and Tokyo want to build the Quad mechanism, comprising Japan, the U.S., India and Australia, into an expanded and upgraded U.S.-Japan alliance, and draw more countries in to jointly confront China. They trumpeted ‘shared values,’ but the world is supposed to be diverse. The most dangerous thing is confrontation, group-based confrontation in particular. The U.S. and Japan are tearing the so-called ‘Indo-Pacific’ apart at the cost of eroding and destroying cooperation. They are attempting to make confrontation the main theme of the entire region.
“They always emphasized ‘rules-based,’ but the rules should refer to those made by the U.N., rather than those defined by the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. has willfully wielded the stick of trade war against China, and cracked down on Chinese high-tech enterprises by cutting off the supply of key technology products. Are these actions in line with the rules? The U.S. is enticing Japan to establish supply chains that exclude China. But does this comply with rules? Besides, the U.S. and the West arbitrarily interfere in internal affairs of other countries; is this encouraged by the U.N. Charter?
“Japan once met China halfway in the past few years, which led China-Japan relations to return to the right track. But now, it has abruptly changed course and become a part of the U.S. containment strategy against China. This has ruined the momentum of improvement in China-Japan relations. It’s not only a result of the U.S.’s pressure, but it’s also caused by Japan’s expanding strategic selfishness. Japan is too short-sighted; it formed an alliance with Germany and Italy before WWII and is now singing a chorus with the U.S.’s radical line. Japan hasn’t learned its lessons. It is, instead, proactively creating and sinking into a vortex of confrontation.
“Finally, we advise Japan to stay away from the Taiwan question. It may play diplomatic tricks in other fields, but if it gets involved in the Taiwan question, it will draw the fire upon itself. The deeper it is embroiled, the bigger the price it will pay.”