Pay more attention to Taiwan: Japanese academic
Monday, Dec 26, 2005,Page 3
A prominent Japanese authority on China on Saturday urged his country to pay more attention to Taiwan, citing the strategic importance of the country to maintaining regional security.
Shigeo Hiramatsu, a professor of Kyorin University and a Japanese China expert, published a feature article in the Japanese-language daily Sankei Shimbun urging the Japanese government, media, and all citizens to express more concern over Taiwan.
Hiramatsu pointed out that given Taiwan's position on the lifeline of the Sea of Japan, Japan must not ignore the influential military status Taiwan holds. He went further to warn that if Japan leaves out Taiwan from its military considerations, the safety of the Sea of Japan will no longer be safeguarded and any talk about the safety in East Asia will become meaningless.
The paper gave Hiramatsu's article a headline saying that Taiwan is situated on the strategic front line. In his article, Hiramatsu praised Seiji Maehara, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, for his recent bold statement about China's military buildup, which is a real threat to Japan.
Nevertheless, Hiramatsu regretted that Maehara did not mention Taiwan's importance in his statement.
Hiramatsu also pointed out that China has built up its military to strategically target the US, and has made taking Taiwan a tactic goal. China is most likely to attack Taiwan by force after both the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. By that time, it will certainly use its nuclear threat to warn the US not to intervene by protecting Taiwan, and to prevent US troops in Japan from making any sudden moves.
The article said that the biggest reason for China to develop long-range nuclear weapons that can reach the US is to force the latter not to interfere in the Taiwan issue.
According to Hiramatsu, China wants to unify with Taiwan primarily because of the nation's strategic position in East Asia. If it can control Taiwan, it can have greater influence on both the South China Sea region and ASEAN.