Sovereignty: Not “Too Soft on Japan”

Japan extended its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) near Taiwan in the East China Sea on June 26 without consulting Taiwanese authorities in advance, according to an article by Jens Kastner and Wang Jyh-Perng for the Asia Times. As a result, Taiwanese and Japanese AIDZs now overlap. Taiwan’s government condemned the Japanese move in a tone unusually firm compared with previous Taiwanese administrations that dealt with similar issues and said it would make no concessions on a “matter of national sovereignty”. In May this year, Taiwan News quoted the ministry of foreign affairs as saying that it was evaluating a request from Japan to expand its air defense identification zone closer to Taiwan. Taiwan News also quoted lawmakers as saying that the government should turn down the Japanese plan because of Taiwan’s own defense needs. If Tokyo moved its air defense identification zone to the west, Taiwan’s air defenses would meet with problems, KMT legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said in May.

Members of Taiwan’s opposition see Japan’s ADIZ extension in a different light and allege that the KMT not only distances Taiwan ever farther from Washington and Tokyo but is also using the ADIZ issue to deliberately incite anti-Japanese sentiment among the Taiwanese to appease Beijing.

Lin Cheng-Yi (林正義), a researcher on international relations at Taiwan’s Academia Sinicia, disagrees and says that it wasn’t the KMT government’s plan to stir up Taiwan’s public opinion against the Japanese.  “The Taiwanese government is worried over China’s reaction, so it doesn’t want to appear as being too soft on Japan”.

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Related
Qin Gang: Concerned about US-ROK Naval Drill, China Daily, July 7, 2010
ECFA: The Price of Letting Taiwan Down, July 1, 2010
Chinese Naval Exercise near Nansei Islands, April 24, 2010

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