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Does Japan control the trigger for US nuclear war on China?

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In April this year, Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide became the first foreign leader to visit the White House after the swearing in of Joe Biden as America’s 46th President. After private discussions, Yoshihide and Biden issued a joint statement entitled “US-Japan Global Partnership for a New Era.” What made it stand out from similar joint releases over the past decades of US-Japanese relations was the fact that, for the first time in over 50 years, the Japanese and American leaders made mention of Taiwan, declaring “we underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.

While the statement was, on the surface, rather innocuous, the Chinese Embassy in the US immediately reacted, declaring Beijing’s resolute opposition to what it deemed to be interference in China’s internal affairs, and noting that the talks had gone beyond the scope of normal bilateral relations, harming third-party interests and threatening peace and stability in the region.

While most observers might think the Chinese objection was centered on its long-standing claim on Taiwan proper, the trigger point was, more likely, the specific reference made in the statement to a tiny cluster of uninhabited rocky islands situated some 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Taiwan and around 400 kilometers (248 miles) due west of Okinawa. These islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands and in China as the Diaoyu Dao Islands, are located not only in rich fishing waters, but also on top of economically viable underwater oil and gas deposits. While their ownership is a matter of ongoing legal dispute, with China viewing them as constituting part of Taiwan, and Japan as part of the Okinawa prefecture, at the present time the islands are administered by Japan.

The US-Japanese joint statement reiterated Washington’s “unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear.” It then went on to reaffirm “the fact that Article V of the Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands,” adding that both the US and Japan “oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands.

Left to its own devices, the........

© RT.com

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