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Japan’s Lessons for Taiwan

By ratcheting up the pressure on Taiwan in response to recent visits by US officials, China is following a strategy that it honed in its past confrontations with Japan. The Chinese will continue to chip away at the status quo as long as Taiwan is unable to deter them.

NEW YORK – Following US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China fired missiles into six areas surrounding Taiwan and sent fighter jets across the midline of the Taiwan Strait. Some of those missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), threatening fishing boats from the Japanese island of Yonaguni, which is just 68 miles (110 kilometers) from Taiwan.

Although China’s military exercises ended after several days, a new precedent has been set. China most likely will send more missiles and jets into the area surrounding Taiwan whenever it is displeased with the Taiwanese government or US actions toward the island.

This strategy of ratcheting up pressure on Taiwan is all too familiar to Japan. In 2010, a Chinese fishing boat entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands – an uninhabited archipelago that belongs to Japan, but that China claims – and intentionally rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel that had warned it to depart from the area.

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