Thursday, January 04, 2007

US & Japan Draft Plans For Taiwan or North Korea Crises

Japan and the United States are considering joint plans to coordinate an armed response if China invades Taiwan or North Korea strikes Japan, news reports have said. US and Japanese defense and foreign affairs officials will next month start studying various scenarios of military confrontation in Taiwan, reflecting US unease over China's growing military power, the Kyodo News agency reported. The plan would consider a possible Taiwanese declaration of independence and the use by China of military force against the island, according to the report, which cited unnamed US and Japanese government sources. Possible cooperation could include the provision by Japanese troops of supplies and logistical support to the US military, as well as rescue missions for missing US soldiers and ship inspections, Kyodo said.Japan's Defense Agency also wanted a broader plan to look at the risk of violence spreading to Japanese territory such as the Okinawa region or the disputed Senkaku islands, called the Diaoyus by China, it added. The Asahi Shimbun said Washington and Tokyo began in December drafting a military plan to deal with a possible crisis in the Korean peninsula, including a North Korean missile attack on Japan. Under those plans, to be completed this year, Japan could search for missing US troops and provide military supplies, the newspaper said, citing unnamed officials in both countries. The US government wanted the Korean plan to be completed by the second half of 2007 in light of Pyongyang's nuclear test last year, the Asahi said. Japan's decision to go ahead with the Taiwan study is believed to reflect the pro-Taiwan stance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Kyodo. Under US legislation, the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington is required to provide Taiwan with "arms of a defensive character" in the event of a Chinese invasion of the island, which Beijing still considers part of its territory.