Thursday, July 13, 2006

Has the North Korean Missile Test Benefited Taiwan?

One outcome of the recent North Korean missile tests is that they are pushing Japan ever deeper into the US security umbrella even as they prod Japan to re-arm and re-interpret its Constitution to permit interventions overseas. Two recent Nelson Reports, based on info from Beltway insiders, have focused on fallout from North Korea's recent moves. Citing a reader, the Report notes:



"All along, China's biggest nightmare, short of US military intervention, was that N. Korean actions would further the "rearmament of Japan" so called," the analyst continues. "How Beijing can with justification tell Kim Jong-il that his actions have underwritten not just US-Japan cooperation on national missile defense, but perhaps even Japanese public acceptance of a radical redefinition of the post-war constitution?"

Japan has recently been lurching toward a closer relationship with Taiwan, and including the island in its regional security arrangements. A more militarily pro-active Japan may be more likely to commit to the defense of Taiwan in the event of an invasion from China. Further, it has not generally been noted in reports on the warning of Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, (a strong candidate to be the next PM in Japan) that Japan has the constitutional right to strike N. Korea, to preempt a pending attack, that Japan lacks the necessary military assets to attack North Korea -- it would be a case of Japan asking the US to carry out that task for it. For a favor like that, Japan would have to do something major in return...and enhanced participation in the US-organized defense of Taiwan is one way of repaying the US.

Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou is in Japan, courting support for his future presidential bid, while at the same time, Japan sent a delegation to visit President Chen here in Taipei. Chen observed in arguing that Japan had been a strong supporter of Taiwan:

Chen cited three examples to illustrate his point. Two years ago, he said that the Japanese government voted in favor of the country's bid to join the World Health Assembly as an observer.

Last year, Japan and US jointly affirmed that the protection of Taiwan is a "common strategic objective" of both countries. Last September, the Japanese government offered visa-free status to all Taiwanese in a bid to promote tourism, he said.

As the country and Japan are "optimum security partners," Chen said it was understandable that the Japanese government voiced concern over Taiwan's defense.

The geopolitical implications of Kim's missile test are still playing out, but one of them might just be more Japanese involvement in Taiwan's defense.

1 comment:

Mod_Mephisto said...

Perhaps you can clarify. Given the fact, that the ROC is not officially recognized as a sovereign government, by what ROC governmental organs would it unofficially lobby on security matters in the event of an NK missile crisis? What are the positions on the NK missile crisis from the rival coalitions?

Also the link to the Nelson Report leads to a banner, but no essay.