Japan and the United States listed the Taiwan issue and problems in the Korean Peninsula as part of their "common strategic objectives" in a joint statement issued on Saturday, signaling that the Japanese-US security cooperation mechanism has breached a bilateral framework and is set for substantial changes.
In a "two plus two" meeting attended by foreign and defense ministers of Japan and the US in Washington, the two countries worked out "common strategic objectives" in efforts to strengthen the Japan-US military alliance.
The agreement, which falls within Washington's global strategies, signifies that Japan will take part in the US global strategies and the two countries will become closer to each other in a military alliance before realizing a Japanese-US military integration.
Moreover, the "common strategic objectives" will become the basic guidelines for the US to realign its military deployment in Japan and may serve as the prelude to another amendment to the Japan-US Defense Cooperation Guidelines.
Military alliance between Japan and the US is a bilateral arrangement against the backdrop of the Cold War. The Japan-US Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty has always confined the purpose of the US military presence in Japan to the defense of Japan and safeguarding peace and stability in the Far East region.
The Japan-US security mechanism outlined in the treaty underwent major changes following the end of the Cold War. Its focus has been shifted from defending Japan to safeguarding peace and stability in Asian and the Pacific region.
The Japan-US Joint Declaration on Security signed in 1996, the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation revised in the following year by the two countries and the legislation on Japan's surrounding situation since 1999 by Tokyo all paved the way for Japan and the US to boost security cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a firm supporter of a tighter partnership with the US, has always pursued a policy of Japan-US alliance in the global arena. Japan proved itself a resolute supporter of the US by sending troops to Iraq, which also added new momentum to their alliance.
However, by listing the Taiwan issue, which includes encouraging a peaceful solution to the problem through dialogue and a better military transparency of Chinese mainland, into their "common strategic objectives" in the Asian-Pacific region, Japan and the US were interfering with China's internal affairs and setting an impediment to its great cause for reunification.
"The Chinese government and people firmly oppose the US-Japan statement on the Taiwan issue, which concerns China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a press conference on Sunday, stressing that the security alliance was "a bilateral scheme spawned during the Cold War period," and should not function beyond the bilateral framework.
Kong said China hopes the United States and Japan will fully consider the interests and concerns of other countries and contribute more to peace and stability across the Asia-Pacific region.
In Japan, Seiji Mataishi, secretary general of the major opposition Social Democratic Party, said he was deeply concerned that Japan is strengthening the security alliance with the United States and moving toward establishing a mechanism under which the Self-Defense Forces will be able to provide support to the US army anytime and anywhere.
It poses grave threat to peace and stability in Asia and around the world, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2005)