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Politics & Security

[Tokyo Outlook] How a Taiwan Contingency Would Impact the World

In a rousing speech, Frank Hsieh warned that China's invasion of Taiwan would be a major defeat for democracy and cause irreparable harm to the global economy.

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Representative of Taiwan to Japan Frank Hsieh Chang-ting speaks at the ONE TAIWAN 2023 symposium on November 8. (©JAPAN Forward by Yasuo Naito)

Taiwan faces escalating military pressure from Beijing, which seeks to unite the former with the Chinese mainland. The island of Taiwan is only a stone's throw away from Japan.

The tension over Taiwan was evident at the United States-China summit on November 15 (PST), with neither side willing to compromise.

Preceding the bilateral summit, the ONE TAIWAN 2023 symposium was held at a Tokyo hotel on November 8. The theme of the symposium was "Defending a Free Asia through Japan-Taiwan Solidarity." It was organized by international political scientists, including Genki Fujii.

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Taiwan Representative Frank Hsieh 

One of the highlights of the event was a compelling keynote speech by Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, the Representative of Taiwan to Japan. The following is a summary of his speech.

"Japan, as a major democratic nation in Asia, has the responsibility of safeguarding freedom in the region. However, protecting one's beloved homeland and freedom requires strength, as love without strength only leads to tragedy. That means Japan needs deterrent power.

"Why is solidarity between Japan and Taiwan essential? Taiwan is located on the so-called first island chain, regarded by Beijing as a defensive line against the United States. Beijing's ultimate goal is to expand outward, using Taiwan as a base. If Taiwan disappears as a bastion of democracy, it would represent a disastrous defeat for democracies."

Attendees write encouraging messages at the ONE TAIWAN 2023 symposium on November 8. (©JAPAN Forward by Yasuo Naito)

Economic Impact

"Furthermore, Taiwan produces 90% of the world's cutting-edge semiconductors. Protecting the peace of Taiwan aligns with global interests. If Beijing decides to blockade the island, global losses are estimated to be in the trillions of dollars, resulting in irreparable damage.

"Peace is in Japan's national interest, and Taiwan and Japan form a community of peace together. Peace is of utmost interest to the world. That means every person and nation has a responsibility to preserve peace. Collaboration between Japan and Taiwan, as reliable partners, would allow a more effective defense of democracy in Asia."

A United Front

"So what must be done? First, to exert deterrent power, the Taiwan issue should be treated as an international issue rather than as China's internal affair. Secondly, Japan must clearly demonstrate that it will not allow any unilateral changes to the status quo. 

"Thirdly, Japan should emphasize that peace is of utmost global interest and seek international support. Fourthly, democratic alliances like Japan-US-Australia ties should demonstrate a united front. Finally, it must be conveyed to the Chinese citizens that peace is in their greatest interest, and engaging in war would result in the deaths of Chinese youth."

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Learn From Ukraine

"Two years ago, the democratic camp did not show enough support for Ukraine. Russia's invasion is a consequence of that. We must not repeat the same mistake with Taiwan. The phrase 'Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow' serves as a warning to democracies. But if we have strong deterrence and a strong will, Japan and Taiwan will never be defeated."

Over 3,000 attendees listened intently to Hsieh's powerful speech. 

Insights From Genki Fujii

Additionally, Vice President Lai Ching-te of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) delivered remarks via video message. He will be running for president in January 2024. 

Then, the venue was enlivened with an energetic performance by the renowned Taiwanese rock band The Chairman.

Political scientist Genki Fujii also presented his insights on the Taiwan issue. He pointed out that China is already engaged in espionage activities ahead of Taiwan's 2028 presidential election. The objective is to ensure that the ruling DPP would get less than half of the legislative seats.

International political scientist Genki Fujii speaks at the ONE TAIWAN 2023 symposium on November 8. (©JAPAN Forward by Yasuo Naito)

Resolution for Action

The symposium concluded by adopting a resolution urging the Japanese government to take the following actions:

  • Officially recognize Taiwan as an independent state
  • Enact a Japanese counterpart to the US Congress' Taiwan Relations Act
  • Enhance security cooperation with Taiwan

Meanwhile, the headline below was the most-read article on JAPAN Forward in the past two weeks. It was penned by Yoshihisa Komori, our associate correspondent in Washington, DC.

There is growing discontent among the Chinese population due to factors such as the failed Belt and Road Initiative, the real estate crash, and youth unemployment. What will be the Xi Jinping administration's next move? A Taiwan contingency would send global democracy down the road to defeat. JAPAN Forward will continue to closely monitor the developments between China and Taiwan.


Watch for the next issue on December 18.

JAPAN Forward is now in its seventh year. Join us as we continue to share the true face of Japan with the world. For inquiries, please call 0570-033-433 (Sankei iD) or email us at info@japan-forward.com.

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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Yasuo Naito, Editor in Chief, JAPAN Forward

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