Kommentar

Det bygger seg opp til et stort drama i det sørøstlige Asia, mellom USA og Kina, og striden gjelder Taiwan. Lørdag vil Japan erklære at det går aktivt inn på USAs side i forsvar av Taiwan.

Kina håpet ved gradvis militær oppbygging å gjøre prisen for å forsvare Taiwan så høy at USA ville tenke seg om minst to ganger. Men med Japan på laget er oppgaven langt vanskeligere for Kina.

Selv om Japans rolle i første omgang vil være på logistikk og medisinsk hjelp, er det likevel en stor psykologisk støtte. Og hvem vet hvor langt Japan kan gå senere, hvis spenningen stiger.

Japan er i den merkelige posisjon at Kina er blitt største handelspartner, foran USA, men politisk er forholdet preget av reservasjon, skepsis, og kniving. Kina er ekspanderende, Japan må passe på for ikke å bli overkjørt.

The United States and Japan will declare Saturday for the first time in a joint agreement that Taiwan is a mutual security concern, according to a draft of the document. Analysts called the move a demonstration of Japan’s willingness to confront the rapidly growing might of China.

in the most significant alteration since 1996 to the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, which re2_kommentars the cornerstone of U.S. interests in East Asia, Japan will join the Bush administration in identifying security in the Taiwan Strait as a «common strategic objective.»

«This is the first time that Japan has made its stance clear; in the past, Japan has been very indirect on the Taiwan issue,» said Koh Se-kai, Taiwan’s special representative to Japan, which since 1972 has had formal relations with China but not with Taiwan. «We’re relieved that Japan has become more assertive.»

«If the situation surrounding Japan threatens our security, Japan can provide U.S. forces with support.»

Such talk reflects what diplomats and scholars call the defining drama of East Asia for the 21st century — the competition for economic and political dominance in the region between Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, and China, the world’s most populous nation and a fast-developing economic and military power.

«I think the biggest challenge to Japan is going to be how it arranges its relationship with China,» the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Howard H. Baker Jr., said on Wednesday. «But how they do that is going to say a lot about stability in this region for years to come. . . . Japan is a superpower; China is on its way to being a superpower. They are both rich, they both have a history and tradition in this region, and they don’t much like each other, I think.»

Japan to Join U.S. Policy on Taiwan (washingtonpost.com)