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A Path Foreseen through the U.S.-Japan Leaders’ Meeting

By Wang Ming-li,

A Path Foreseen through the U.S.-Japan Leaders’ Meeting
Wang Ming-li, Chair, World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI)-Japan

The U.S.-Japan Joint Press Statement after President Biden and Prime Minister Suga met on April 16 clearly stated, “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful solution of cross-Strait issues.” This was truly epoch-making and sent a strong message, of a bright future not only for Taiwan but also for all of Asia.

The United States and Japan have shown that they will not overlook China’s irrational hegemonic encroachment, including its attempt to seize Taiwan. From the Taiwanese standpoint, the right view was finally expressed.

In retrospect, ever since 1945, the Taiwanese forthrightly stated, “Taiwan belongs to the Taiwanese, not to the Chinese.” However, our cry, emanating from the bottom of our hearts, has been suppressed by the Chinese Nationalist Party, never to be heard by the international community. Worse still, in 1972, the Republic of China’s seat in the United Nations, held by representatives of Chiang Kai-shek, was taken by the People’s Republic of China. Since then, as China’s national strength rose, Taiwan’s international standing and diplomatic relations have declined. The fact is that amidst China’s bullying of Taiwan and with the international community, including the United States and Japan, following suit, the human rights of 23 million Taiwanese have been totally neglected.

Now, finally, after fifty long years, the United States clearly manifested its commitment to the sovereignty of Taiwan and urged Japan to do the same. Speaking of Japan, since it is close to China geographically and closely bound to China economically, Japan has steadily catered to China’s every wish. However, from the viewpoint of national security, it is clearly against Japan’s national interest to wail and fret over Chinese intentions, before taking any action. Peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are directly related to maintaining peace with Japan. The United States urged Japan to make up its mind and confront this issue.

The importance of the recent U.S.-Japan Joint Press Statement is reflected in the fact that numerous actions, one after another, have arisen in various parts of the world.

First, on April 17, the World Medical Association (WMA) adopted a resolution addressed to WHO Director General Tedros, demanding that the WHO invite Taiwan to the next World Health Assembly (WHA, the WHO’s yearly forum), and to never again involve the WHO in a political dispute. This resolution was adopted by 22 votes for and 1 vote against. Of course, China cast the sole vote against this resolution. In other words, all members, except China, unanimously agreed to Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.

Next, on April 19, President Duterte of the Philippines warned China, “If China ever attempts to explore seabed resources in the South China Sea, I will immediately send grey ships (warships) to claim our territorial right.” President Duterte, quick to seize an opportunity and likely influenced and encouraged by the strong joint statement made by the U.S. President and Prime Minister of Japan, openly criticized China.

On the same day (April 19), in the United States Congress, the “Taiwan International Solidarity Act” was submitted by lawmakers of both political parties. This bill referred to the 1971 United Nations Resolution 2758 and confirmed that Resolution 2758 (the so-called Albanian Resolution) simply dealt with Chinese representation in the United Nations and had nothing to do with the issue of Taiwan and the people of Taiwan, and strongly condemned the Government of China for distorting the Resolution to its favor and to use it to claim sovereignty over Taiwan. This bill will clear the way toward the recognition of Taiwan as an independent state, setting Taiwan free from half-a-century of humiliation as a so-called part of China.

On April 21, the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the “Strategic Competition Act of 2021,” which address issues related to the People’s Republic of China, with the aim of further strengthen US relations with Taiwan, with 21 votes in favor and 1 vote against. Since this bill passed the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, it will become law in no time.

Also on April 21, the business cards of Izumi Hiroyasu, Director of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (equivalent to the Japanese Embassy in Taiwan), reportedly carried the title “Ambassador” Izumi Hiroyasu. This is also an earthshaking step forward. Hopefully, very soon, the “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association” will officially become the “Japanese Embassy in Taiwan” and the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan” (TECO-Japan) will become “Taiwanese Embassy in Japan.”

Moreover, on the same day, the Australian Government announced its cancellation of the “One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR)” contract concluded between the State of Victoria and China. The reason behind the decision was that “the contract either conflicts with Australian foreign policy or gives negative impact on its foreign diplomatic relations.”

Thus far, firm actions by various countries taken against China have occurred since the April 16 U.S.-Japan Joint Press Statement. We should think that these actions did not occur randomly but were, rather, natural consequences of the U.S.-Japan Joint Press Statement.

The fact that the U.S. and Japanese leaders have drawn the line will lead to further positive results in countries that uphold national principles and values based on freedom and democracy.

The importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is not an issue for others to resolve—it is one that is directly related to Japan’s own national security. Though non-belligerent Japanese traits are respectable and exceptional virtues, Japan must be firmly determined and prepared to protect freedom and peace in every possible way in order to remain free and peaceful. If Japan thoroughly understands that “Taiwan’s crisis is Japan’s crisis,” the path Japan must take will be obvious.