U.S.-Japan Statement Refers to Taiwan for First Time in 52 Years
In the statement after the recent U.S.-Japan summit, Taiwan was mentioned for the first time in 52 years. Japan and the United States affirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
U.S.-Japan Summit Reaffirms Significance of Cross-Strait Peace and Stability
China Times, April 18, 2021
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan and President Joe Biden of the United States held their first face-to-face Meeting at the White House in the early morning on April 17, Taiwan time. In the Joint Statement after the Meeting, two leaders rarely expressed their concern about the situation in the Taiwan Strait, stating that "We emphasize the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues." The leaders of the United States and Japan are also "deeply concerned" about the human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as well as the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and reaffirmed that Diaoyutai Islands (called the Senkaku Islands in Japan) is applicable to Article V of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
Cross-Strait Issues: Suga and Biden Call for Peace
The last U.S.-Japan leaders’ Joint Statement mentioning Taiwan was in 1969 during the Cold War when Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato visited Washington and had talks with U.S. President Richard Nixon. Japan’s Kyodo News Agency specifically pointed out that this is the first time it has been mentioned in 52 years, and it is also the first time since the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations in 1972. After the meeting, Suga told the media about the situation in the Taiwan Strait and the Senkaku Islands that while tensions continue, the leaders of the United States and Japan have reached a consensus on making peaceful resolution the top priority.
The United States has demanded that Japan make clear its stance on Taiwan. If China were to invade Taiwan, what role will Japan play? It has presented a dilemma for Japan, which has continued to take a vague position between the U.S. and China.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Harsh Words from U.S. Forces Japan into Dilemma
United Daily News, April 17, 2021
A scene in 2016 left quite the impression: then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting then President-elect Donald Trump, a private citizen still. To have made contact so early with the future president speaks to Abe’s keen diplomatic sense. Fast forward to today, the current Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited the White House on April 16 and became the first foreign leader to be greeted by the latest American president. This too was regarded by the Japanese public as a "victory of Japanese diplomacy."
For Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who faces re-election in September, the summit is a much-needed boost to lukewarm public opinion. However, it is not without cost. For the meeting, the United States requested Taiwan’s security issues be included in the summit’s agenda and the joint statement.
According to a commentator, Taiwan and the United States have not really taken advantage of the visiting delegation to Taiwan led by former Senator Chris Dodd, a close friend of President Joe Biden, and publicly show good relations.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Taiwan and U.S. Calculations: Publicity Shows Sense of Distance
United Daily News, April 16, 2021
When President Joe Biden of the United States sent his personal friend former Senator Christopher Dodd to visit Taiwan, China suddenly announced live-fire drills along Chinese coast as a gesture to protest against U.S.-Taiwan exchanges. Facing mainland Chinese provocation, Taiwan and the United States could have taken the opportunity of this visit to demonstrate their partnership against the threat from Beijing. However, the opening remarks of President Tsai Ing-wen and Dodd in their meeting reveals that there is a clear distance between the two sides.
President Tsai received the American unofficial and bipartisan delegation composed of Chris Dodd, former U.S. deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg yesterday. Tsai expressed appreciation for the U.S. support of and deepening relations with Taiwan and also urged the American administration to resume the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) dialogue.
In a media interview, Secretary Antony Blinken stated that any attempt to change the status quo in the Western Pacific would be a serious mistake. But he did not answer the hypothetical question of whether the United States would send troops to defend Taiwan.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
April 11: In an interview by NBC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the United States is concerned about aggressive actions taken by mainland China towards Taiwan. Blinken further warned that any attempt by force to change the status quo in the Western Pacific would be a grave mistake. But he did not answer the hypothetical question of whether the United States would send troops to defend Taiwan.
April 13: The Navy's first amphibious transport dock, the Yushan, named after Taiwan's highest peak, was launched. In her remarks, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that the Yushan is another milestone in Taiwan's national shipbuilding industry, and she believes that the Yushan will strengthen the Navy's ability to perform tasks and solidify national defense capabilities. According to the military, the Yushan will be responsible for transporting resources in the South China Sea and outer islets, serve as a field hospital and point of international humanitarian relief, and perform amphibious operations during wartime. The Yushan not only has a hidden configuration but is also equipped with complete air defense as well as sea-to-sea weapons and radar systems.
April 14: The Central Epidemic Command Center announced that business people, those who work and study abroad, and patients seeking medical treatment will become eligible to receive the AstraZeneca coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at their own expense. The aforementioned groups will be able to make vaccination appoints beginning April 21 at 31 dedicated hospital locations. Vaccine costs will be waived, but patients will need to pay for registration, diagnosis, and injection fees, which cost about NT$500 (US$17) to NT$600 (US$21) per person.
Taiwan imported two batches of about 310,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. Due to news reports of adverse side effects, however, vaccination interest has been low, with only 30,000 vaccinations administered. It is generally believed that the vaccines will not be fully consumed before their expiration in May or June.
April 15: Japan announced on April 13 t hat it would release diluted waste water containing tritium from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. The Atomic Energy Council, Executive Yuan, Taiwan's regulatory agency, expressed opposition and demanded that Japan do its utmost to provide relevant information openly and transparently for international scientific testing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it has made serious representations to Japan and demanded Japan to take rights and interests of Taiwan squarely.
April 15: President Tsai Ing-wen met the first delegation of senior American political figures since President Joe Biden took office nearly three months ago, and the parties had dinner at the presidential residence. Former Senator Chris Dodd, the leader of the delegation and a close friend of President Biden, stated that now is the time of most robust U.S.-Taiwan relations in history and believes that the Biden administration will help Taiwan expand its international participation and support Taiwan's active self-defense. President Tsai stated hopes that the United States and Taiwan may resume Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks so as to further strengthen relations as bilateral trade partners.
The delegation included Dodd, former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitrage and James Steinberg, and Director Dan Biers of the Office of Taiwan Coordination, Department of State. The delegation arrived in Taiwan on April 14 and departed April 16 by charter flight.
April 15: The Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, announced the discovery of cattle nodule rash in a cattle farm located in Linkou District, New Taipei. This is the first confirmed case of cattle nodule rash on Taiwan's main island since discovery in Kinmen in July last year, and the eight infected cattle have been slaughtered. The virus is identical to that already discovered in mainland China. According to exports, the disease may be carried by mosquitoes through transport equipment from the mainland or Kinmen. The Executive Yuan has established a central response center and reported the case to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
April 16: Citigroup announced that it will sell consumer financial services divisions in 13 countries, attracting concern. Citibank stressed that its businesses will operate normally until an exit date is confirmed. Citibank Taiwan stated that it would invest resources in corporate financial and investment banking services. In other words, Citi is not exiting Taiwan completely.
Citibank has issued 2.17 million active credit cards in Taiwan, with monthly bills totaling more than NT$15.6 billion (about US$550 million), the highest of any foreign bank in Taiwan.