Threats flowed from China after a Japanese official said his country would need to defend Taiwan if China ever invaded it.
The Communist Party-run Global Times responded to the comment from Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso with an editorial proclaiming that “Japan will dig its own grave if it crosses red line of Taiwan question.”
Hu Xijin, chief editor of the Global Times, went even further, saying China would “destroy” any Japanese forces that dared get in its way, according to Newsweek.
The onslaught of rhetoric was triggered by a report from the Kyodo news agency that Aso said during a political fundraiser that Japan could not stand by if China were to invade Taiwan.
“If a major problem took place in Taiwan, it would not be too much to say that it could relate to a survival-threatening situation [for Japan],” he was quoted as saying, Reuters reported.
“In such a case, Japan and the United States will have to work together to defend Taiwan,” Aso was also quoted as saying, according to The Guardian. “We need to consider seriously that Okinawa could be next.”
China claims it is the rightful owner of some tiny islands off of Okinawa.
The communist giant also claims that Taiwan, which became the refuge of the nationalist government of China after the Community revolution of 1949, is rightfully its territory as well.
The United States has bent to China’s will by not having formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it has consistently supported Taiwan with arms sales to ensure the island remains independent.
The Global Times editorial reflected the fact that China considers any questions concerning its potential to gobble up Taiwan as off-limits.
“Japan has gone too far and stretched its hands too long. Japan has no right to dictate issues related to China’s internal affairs. Making inflammatory comments on the Taiwan question shows that Japan is following US’ policy of using the island as an important bridgehead to contain China,” the editorial said, invoking pre-World War II comments from Japanese officials toward China.
“Japan does not dare to confront China alone. If Japan involves itself in the Taiwan question militarily, it will be Japan digging its own grave. Japan’s military capability is completely restrained by the US and does not have an independent combat capability,” the editorial said.
“It is easy for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to paralyze the attack capability of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Japan itself is powerless against the Chinese military,” the editorial said.
If it acts against China, “Japan will become the target of China’s military strike. This will endanger Japan’s survival,” the editorial said.
Hu, the Global Times editor, went further.
“When Taiwan Strait hostilities do break out, Japan had better stay far away,” he said.
“If the Japan Self-Defense Forces [JSDF] join the fight and attack the People’s Liberation Army, the PLA will not only destroy the JSDF, it also has the right to strike the JSDF’s bases and related military installations, crippling its attacking capabilities,” Hu wrote.
As China bristled and blustered, Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs for the National Security Council, said the U.S. has sent a “clear message of deterrence across the Taiwan Strait,” The Guardian reported.
“I just want to underscore that such an effort would be catastrophic,” Campbell said of any Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
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