Japan warns of Taiwan crisis, growing risks from US-China rivalry

10:54, 13 July 2021
Japan warns of Taiwan crisis, growing risks from US-China rivalry

Growing military tensions over Taiwan along with the American-Chinese economic and technological rivalry becomes a threat to peace and stability in East Asia as the regional power balance shifts in China's favor, the Japanese annual defense white paper stated.

The review was approved by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday. 

Japan sees China as the main national security concern comprising the growing military activity around Taiwan as the island lies close to the Okinawa chain at the Western end of the Japanese archipelago.

"It is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever," said a new section on Taiwan. Also, US-China competition in technological fields is likely to become even more intense, the Defense Ministry of Japan said.

Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said Japan should join forces with the US to defend Taiwan from any invasion, and any issue should be resolved through dialogue. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete the "reunification" with Taiwan and criticized the US as a "risk creator" after it sent a warship through the Taiwan Straits separating the island from the mainland.

As the military rivalry between the United States and China deepens, their economic competition is fuelling a race to take the lead in key technologies, such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing, the paper said.

However, the Japanese economy relies on trade relations with China as much as it does with the United States, along with the government funding for technology development in the US, China, and Europe.

For the first time, the Japanese annual security review included sections on threats posed by climate change that may trigger the mass movement of climate refugees, and global warming, while Arctic Sea ice melting could lead to the militarisation of northern waters.