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 台灣法律網 > 法律知識庫 > 政治國際 > 國際事務專欄

U.S.-Japan Statement: What It Means for the Four Key Players

文 / 楊永明教授
【台灣法律網】


U.S.-Japan Statement: What It Means for the Four Key Players

By Philip Yang

Straits Times, Feb. 26, 2005

THE United States and Japan have issued a joint statement that security in the Taiwan Strait is an issue of common concern. Besides signaling that the US wants to strengthen cooperation with Japan and increase mutual defense responsibilities, the statement also highlights two key issues:

•The normalization of Japanese security policy, and;

•A new trend in the development of the US-Japan security alliance.

While the statement isn't a direct reaction to Beijing's new anti-secession law, its content and timing can easily be interpreted as aimed at sending a message to Beijing.

What the US wants

THE US has often encouraged Japan to play a more active role in regional security. Bush administration officials close to Japan have consistently pressed it to participate more fully in international and East Asian security affairs.

Given that North Korea and China's rising military power represent challenges to the security order in East Asia, the US sees it as imperative that it strengthens its security relationship with Japan to deal with any possible changes in the status quo.

Second, the focus of the second Bush administration's Taiwan policy is to deter both Taipei and Beijing from unilaterally changing the status quo, especially given the upcoming enactment of Beijing's anti-secession law and Taipei's revision of its Constitution. Since there remains explosive potential for conflict in the Taiwan Strait, strengthening the US-Japan military alliance is a realistic strategy for the US.

What Japan wants

TOKYO has wanted to effect a change in Japanese security policy to put it on the path towards becoming a 'normal' great power.

Although it has continued to emphasise self-defence, both the Defence White Paper and Defence Guidelines published last year contained a new, active Japanese defence policy, which pays close attention to challenges in the regional security environment.

For example, the Defence Guidelines stated that 'there exist extremely murky and uncertain factors in the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the Taiwan Strait'. It also stated that 'China's direction is worth watching', and that 'China not only has nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but also continues to push the modernisation of its navy and air force and further expand its activities in the Pacific'.

These statements are consistent with the recent joint statement of concern about the Taiwan Strait, and display an attitude towards regional security that Tokyo feels a normal country ought to have.

Japan can say no - to China

THERE is of course a deeper reason for this change in Japanese policy. In the late 1980s, the US often criticised Japan for unfair trade practices, and exerted much political and diplomatic pressure on Japan to revalue the yen and adopt voluntary export quotas.

In the book Japan Can Say No, the authors - Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and Sony founder Akio Morita - expressed dissatisfaction that Japan had to follow American directives, and hoped that Japan could escape the self-imposed limits of its diplomacy and become a normal country.

These days, Japanese nationalism and conservatism are again on the rise.

Although this trend has been influenced by various international factors, in particular the North Korean nuclear and hostage issues, it can be accounted for mostly by the potential China threat and Beijing's unending criticism of historical issues.

As a result, government contacts between China and Japan have reached their lowest level in recent years, despite the increasing interdependence of their economies. Using the US-Japan alliance to express concern about the Taiwan Strait is thus another way for Japan to say no, but this time to China rather than to the US.

Making it clearer

WITH respect to the US-Japan alliance, the joint statement clearly indicates that security in the Taiwan Strait is the common strategic goal of the US and Japan.

The sixth clause of the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty, the famous 'Far East Clause', specifies that the purpose of stationing US troops in Japan is to protect the peace and security of the Far East region.

In the 1997 US-Japan New Security Guideline, however, the 'Far East' was changed to 'Japan's Surrounding Areas'. The key issue is that of what exactly constitutes the 'Far East' and 'Japan's Surrounding Areas'.

The US and Japan have emphasised that these terms refer not to a geographic concept, but a situational concept - whatever directly impinges on the peace and security of Japan. Thus, the recent joint statement represents a further specification of what constitutes 'Japan's Surrounding Areas', to a certain extent replacing strategic ambiguity with strategic clarity.

It also shows that the US and Japan will be in closer consultation and cooperation on regional security matters, including the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan needs to be realistic

TAIWAN should have an accurate understanding of the real implications of changes in US and Japanese security policy. It should expand security dialogue and interactions with the US and Japan, but it must not misinterpret Japan's military as being in direct antagonism with China, or imagine that a US-Japan-Taiwan military alliance is right around the corner.

While Japan's role has become more active, Tokyo is still constrained within the US' East Asian strategic framework. The US-China relationship will not experience fundamental change, and Beijing may in fact become more important to the US as it contributes to defusing the North Korean nuclear situation.

Nevertheless, the recent joint statement by the US and Japan has at least clearly indicated that any action influencing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait will arouse the mutual concern of both powers.

 

The writer is a professor at National Taiwan University

法令具時效性,文章內容及所引用資料,請自行查核法令動態及現行有效之實務見解
寄給朋友     友善列印

 

作者簡介
(轉載自楊永明國際事務首頁 http://140.112.2.84/~yang/)
現任:
台灣大學政治學系教授、台灣大學政治學系台灣安全研究中心主任
學 歷:
美國維吉尼亞大學國際法與國際組織博士、台灣大學政治學研究所國際關係碩士、台灣大學政治學系學士
經 歷:
外交部諮詢委員(2002 - )、「台灣政治學刊」編輯委員(2003 -)、日本中央大學訪問副教授(2001)、日本慶應大學訪問學者(2000)、日本東京大學訪問學者(1999)、加拿大 University of British Columbia 訪問學者、三軍大學戰爭學院榮譽講座、淡江大學國際事務與戰略研究所兼任副教授、東吳大學政治學系兼任副教授
網址: http://140.112.2.84/~yang/
E-Mail: pyang@ntu.edu.tw

 

 

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