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Japan hosts the G7 video summit expert: “Today’s Ukraine, tomorrow’s East Asia” is aimed at China

Flags of the G7 countries, as well as the European Union.
Flags of the G7 countries, as well as the European Union.

TAIPEI – On the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a G7 virtual summit. Experts believe that Kishida showed support for Ukraine in order to persuade G7 countries to jointly curb China’s possible aggression in East Asia, and also remind China that Japan’s security concepts and core values will not be compromised.

Support Ukraine, persuade G7 to do the same for East Asia

This year’s G7 national leaders’ physical summit will be held in Hiroshima in May. Japan is the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) in 2023 and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

On October 11, 2022, leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) held a video conference with Ukrainian President Zelensky. Ukrainian President Zelensky (upper left corner) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (lower right corner) appeared in the same frame. on screen.
On October 11, 2022, leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) held a video conference with Ukrainian President Zelensky. Ukrainian President Zelensky (upper left corner) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (lower right corner) appeared in the same frame. on screen.

Fumio Kishida hosted the G7 video summit on February 24, the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and invited Zelensky to attend. The purpose of the G7 summit this time is to demonstrate the unity and unity of the G7 in confirming support for Ukraine and continuing sanctions against Russia.

On February 20, Kishida delivered a speech at the 4th “Tokyo Global Dialogue” forum held by the Japanese think tank “Japan Institute of International Studies” (JIIA), saying that Japan is facing a severe security environment and seeing the use of force to change the status quo They have a strong sense of crisis about “Ukraine today, East Asia tomorrow.” It is generally believed that besides criticizing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Kishida’s mention of East Asia was aimed at China. Kishida announced on the same day that Japan will provide a new aid of 5.5 billion U.S. dollars to Ukraine.

At the forum on February 20, Japanese Foreign Minister Lin Fangzheng also emphasized that emerging countries tried to unilaterally change the status quo by force and economic power, which challenged the international order, which was seen as alluding to China’s economic security guarantees for the world. question.

Grant Newsham, a former colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and a senior fellow at the Japan Strategic Studies Forum, told the media that Japan puts China first when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine war because Japan is more afraid than the United States that China will gradually dominate the whole of Asia, and then Japan. He pointed out that in the past five years, Japan has finally come to its senses and attached great importance to the huge threat posed by the CCP to Japan, especially Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which made Japan realize that war may be at hand.

Newsom believes that although Japan and China have gradually launched high-level dialogues since November last year, they are all “show” in nature, just to avoid escalation of tension, because the CCP has not changed the nature of aggressiveness, and Japan is well aware of it. On this point, in fact, both countries know in their hearts that war may start at any time. Since neither Japan nor China will make concessions, in order to prevent China from gradually gaining a dominant position, Kishida must constantly demonstrate Japan’s firm opposition to Russia’s aggression on the international stage, and continue to support Ukraine, so that the G7 countries may also support Japan in the event of a Sino-Japanese conflict.

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Xie Wensheng, an expert on Japan-China relations and executive director of the Taiwan Oasis Culture and Education Foundation, believes that since Russia invaded Ukraine, Kishida’s response to this has been “today’s Ukraine, tomorrow’s East Asia.”

He told the media: “All Japan’s diplomatic and national defense actions over the past year are preventive measures against China’s attempt to use force to unilaterally change the status quo in East Asia. Japan quickly joined the G7 sanctions against Russia last year. , also because considering that if this kind of aggression occurs in Asia in the future, Japan should have a position to ask the G7 countries to follow suit. But for Kishida, the most troublesome thing now is that Japan is the host of this year’s G7, but he is currently the only leader who has not yet appeared in Kiev, which makes his speeches and propositions on the main topic of the G7 this year, that is, the Ukrainian-Russian War, will become less convincing.”

Xie Wensheng pointed out that Japan will soon join the ranks of sanctions against Russia, and Lin Fangzheng also expressed this, “Considering that if it happens in Asia in the future if we fail to cooperate today, we have no position to ask G7 countries to follow suit in the future.” It is to directly point out that what worries Japan most is the threat from China.

Zhan Xiangwei, a policy analyst at Taiwan’s National Defense Security Research Institute, said in an interview with media that Kishida has repeatedly reiterated the so-called international law and international order during this period, and has repeatedly expressed support for Ukraine. Japan, Japan, and China made bilateral efforts to create a friendly atmosphere suitable for talks, but Japan still did not relax on related security issues.

Zhan Xiangwei said: “For Japan, it is actively showing its support for Ukraine. On the one hand, it is to ensure Japan’s overall international status and to ensure Japan’s confidence in the subsequent G7 meetings. At the same time, it also echoes Japan’s escape from being a non-permanent member of the Security Council Of course, the two aspects are also reminding China that although both Japan and China have further expectations, communication, and cooperation on the economic level, it is very difficult for Japan to achieve security and core values, or it is not at all. won’t budge.”

The Russian-Ukraine War Prompts Japan’s Security to Rapidly Move toward “Independence and Independence”

Fumio Kishida said on February 20 that the current security environment around Japan is the most serious after the war when some countries try to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile activities are more frequent. And the most complicated situation. Therefore, at the end of last year, Japan formulated a new national security strategy and decided to drastically change its security policy.

Zhan Xiangwei, a policy analyst at Taiwan’s National Defense Security Research Institute, believes that Japan’s new security strategy document clearly states that China’s movements are the “biggest strategic challenge ever” to the international order. It was a decision made after Japan felt tremendous pressure from China’s threats.

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He said: “The value-based and value-based international order that Shinzo Abe has shaped for a long time has gradually begun to ferment, and behaviors that do not abide by international law and international order, especially countries that are on the front line and have suffered major security shocks, will gradually Choose a tougher response, so Japan directly named China as an unprecedented strategic challenger. Japan has continuously strengthened its sense of the “China threat” through strategic communication internally and externally. Countries outside the region are gradually paying more attention to security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. Overall, it will be relatively beneficial to Japan in the long run.”

Xie Wensheng, an expert on Japan-China relations, said that the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made suggestions to the Japanese people after seeing that Ukraine survived the prediction that the whole world thought it would lose the war quickly, pointing out that the Russia-Ukraine war has threatened countries all over the world with force The biggest enlightenment is that “Only by showing a willingness to defend one’s own country can one gain the support of allies” so that the change of security strategy can be carried out smoothly.

Xie Wensheng said: “The biggest change in Japan’s defense strategy after the war has not been greatly challenged domestically as a whole. The strong affirmation of the United States has also given the US-Japan alliance greater strength in the stability of the Indo-Pacific region, allowing China to make careful assessments.”

Newsom, a senior fellow at the Japan Strategic Research Forum, believes that Japan’s changes in its security strategy have earned Japan a high degree of international respect. He pointed out that in the past few decades, Japan has been like a cash machine. It has continuously provided financial assistance in global affairs, but it can only provide minimal defensive assistance in terms of force. In addition, Japan’s national security can only be relied on by the United States. In the past, Japan did not receive much attention internationally, especially because China and Russia did not take Japan seriously at all, but these have all changed because of Japan’s own decisions.

Newsom said that Japan’s new security strategy has let the world know how important it is to have and be able to use a strong military in accordance with the law. This not only makes China and Russia face up to Japan’s attitude but also makes countries in the Indo-Pacific region look forward to Japan’s can assist them in resisting the Chinese threat.

Newsom believes that Western countries such as the United States and the G7 are now more willing to maintain the security of Japan and the Indo-Pacific region, which will also force China to make at least a little change in its diplomatic methods.

China can only compromise with Japan

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Fangzheng met with Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission when attending the Munich Security Conference on February 18. During the talks, Lin Fang reiterated that she hoped that China would make positive contributions to the international community under the established international rules. At the same time, she strongly urged China to respond with a responsible attitude toward the situation in Ukraine.

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Zhan Xiangwei, a policy analyst at Taiwan’s National Defense Security Research Institute, said that on the issue of the Russia-Ukraine war, China initially showed a cooperative attitude between China and Russia, accusing the West of being the culprit in launching the war, but when Western countries launched sanctions against Russia one after another, strategic responses After becoming more and more intense, China is worried that if it is included in the “evil camp” with Russia because this is quite detrimental to China’s international status and shaping the international moral high ground, it will also affect China’s post-epidemic economic recovery. Big hit.

Zhan Xiangwei said: “I think China is a little bit hard to ride a tiger at this stage. This is also a problem that communist authoritarian country will inevitably encounter. Now China must ensure the stability of Sino-Russian relations on the one hand, and on the other hand, it must obtain a new moral high ground on the Ukrainian-Russian issue. To attract more support from developing countries such as Central and South America or Africa, the three aspects must go back and consolidate Sino-Japanese relations as an alternative control route for relations with the United States. Therefore, before the G7 summit, China’s tough attitude towards Western democracies will not be of any use Too much adjustment, but the operation for Japan will tend to be a little more relaxed and delicate.”

Newsom, a former U.S. Marine Corps colonel, said China was also watching the reactions of the G7 countries, and that if the G7 countries showed some degree of unity in supporting Ukraine and taking a tougher stance toward Russia and China, Beijing would show a more aggressive approach. Accommodating diplomatic attitude; if China finds weaknesses in the G7 countries, such as indecision among members, or domestic chaos, China will maintain a tough attitude towards Western countries, because China itself believes that it is already a war with the Western world In the long-term war of resistance, there were only some adjustments in tactics.

Xie Wensheng, CEO of Taiwan Oasis Culture and Education Foundation, said that China was affected by the US technology sanctions and the policy of almost locking the country under the new crown pneumonia. This created a great predicament and forced the Wolf Warrior diplomacy to temporarily accept it. Therefore, China can only express its opinions symbolically on the revised content of Japan’s three security documents last year.

Xie Wensheng said: “Now China’s emotional blackmail of Japan’s World War II history has hardly any effect. Instead, Japan tells everyone all day long, “Today’s Ukraine, tomorrow’s East Asia”, and then mentions the Senkaku Islands from time to time ( China calls Diaoyu Islands), Taiwan, the East China Sea (East China Sea), the South China Sea (South China Sea), Hong Kong, Uyghur, let China jump again and again, but must compromise with Japan.”

Xie Wensheng pointed out that Japan’s recent basic attitude towards China is “to express what it wants to say.” China can only scold it in its heart in order to drive a wedge between the US-Japan alliance and find a breakthrough in the Indo-Pacific region.

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