Facing the Future with Taiwan
Tsai Ing-Wen becomes President of Taiwan

Many people know Taiwan for its good food, hot springs, tourist attractions, and pro-Japan sentiments; but very few people know whether Taiwan is a country, or whether it is a part of China.


What Kind Of Person Is Tsai Ing-wen

The newly appointed chairperson of Taiwan, is Tsai Ing-wen (aged 59) of Democratic Progressive Party. Tsai will formerly assume office in May as the first female President of Taiwan.

Doubtless, the world is yet unfamiliar with Tsai. She likes to simple living, has 2 pet cats, and looks like Yoda from Star Wars. While she looks like a nice simple lady, she is an uncompromising politician.

She has said the following regarding Japan:

“I would like to deal with Japan in cooperation with China, regarding the security and market freedom of the area.” (4 October 2011)
“The effects of the U.S.-Japan alliance are influencing Taiwan’s profitably.” (4 October 2011)
“Regardless of whether there is a security related law or not, I hope that Japan will play a large part in maintaining the security of the region.” (1 October 2015)
Thus, she is a pro-Japan, anti-China person.

Taiwan Is Chinese Territory. Yay Or Nay?

We now return to the question of whether Taiwan is a country or not. The answer is: the international community does not think it is a country. In order to understand the details, we must go back in history to WWII.

After Japan lost to the U.S.in the Greater East Asia War, the civil war between the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party continued in Mainland China. When the Nationalist Party lost, they – the Republic of China – defected to Taiwan. The Communist Party now controlled Mainland China, and in 1949, founded the People’s Republic of China. Since then, the international community has had to decide which of the two, Taiwan or China, is the proper Chinese government. At first, the U.S. was supportive of Taiwan, but they had to abandon Taiwan in order to gain support from China to end the Vietnam War. In 1971, a vote at the UN General Assembly decided that the representative administration of China would be the People’s Republic of China, leaving Taiwan now choice but to withdraw from the UN.

Ever since, while the Nationalist Party seeks to reunite China, Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party opposes that idea by proposing to return to the international community as an independent country.

For China, however, Taiwan is part of their territory: it has been China’s ardent desire to annex Taiwan since they founded the People’s Republic. This is why Chinese critics predict that the Communist Party will try to dominate Taiwan on their 100th anniversary in 2021.


U.S. Aircraft Carriers Won’t Be Coming To Help Japan

This China-Taiwan relationship is not unrelated to current Japan. In fact, the countries are geographically close: the distance between Okinawa and Taiwan is a mere 110 km. If China creates a military base in Taiwan, fighter aircrafts could easily destroy Okinawa’s defense, and the sea-lane nearby will be endangered. If China annexes Taiwan, the consequences will directly influence Japan. To put it crudely, Taiwan and Japan share a common destiny.

China is already sending patrol vessels around the Senkaku Islands and flying fighter jets over Okinawa. In 2014, Japanese Self-Defense aircrafts made 468 emergency takeoffs prompted by China’s aircrafts, breaking the record. Okinawa is in danger.

In addition, China has deployed missile units that are able to bring down U.S. aircraft carriers, the vessels being pivotal to the U.S.-Japan alliance. A Japanese military specialist had predicted that, “the U.S. is going to refuse to send their aircraft carriers to Okinawa and Taiwan in any emergency, for fear of those missiles.” This is why Japan should take into consideration the worst-case scenario, where the U.S. won’t be coming to help.


The ‘Decisive 8 Years’ Is About To Begin

Being thus threatened by China, the Japanese Ministry of Defense newly founded the 9th Air Wing with their F-15 fighter aircrafts now increased to 40 aircrafts, in January. In May, they will deploy ground forces to patrol Yonaguni, Okinawa.
It is welcome news that Japan is preparing to counter China, but it is still insufficient considering Taiwan’s defense. In order to fully counter China, we ought to encourage Taiwan to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Additionally, Japan ought to accept Taiwan as a country, and form a Japan-Taiwan alliance. With regards to national defense for both Japan and Taiwan, we should aim to deploy missiles, co-develop jamming devices and export weaponry.

Tsai will remain in office until 2024, at the longest. This will somewhat coincide with the end of office for Chairman Xi Jinping of China, which is in 2023. For Japan, Taiwan and the rest of Asia, the next 8 years will decide whether we can overcome China’s encirclement network.

Facing the Future with Taiwan
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