Taiwan should increase military cooperation with Japan: US expert

Roy Kamphausen said China poses a common threat to both nations

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A panel of defense experts discussed the future of security alliances between Taiwan and its partners.

A panel of defense experts discussed the future of security alliances between Taiwan and its partners. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan and Japan should expand on existing military collaboration in the face of Chinese aggression, which poses a common threat to both nations, said Roy Kamphausen, Senior Vice President of the U.S. National Bureau of Asian Research.

Further bilateral cooperation would help sustain a free and open Indo-Pacific region, he said, which is Japan’s key mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Kamphausen was one of several defense experts that convened today (Tuesday, April 16) to discuss the future of Taiwan-U.S. security relations in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific. The panel was part of a conference to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

Kamphausen stressed that while a number of territorial disputes exist between Taiwan and Japan, the two sides have proven this does not need to hinder bilateral cooperation.

Taiwan and Japan reached a consensus in 2013 following a longstanding dispute over fishing territory, he said. While the two states did not discuss matters of territorial sovereignty, they signed a fisheries agreement which determined natural resources can be shared, he added, ensuring peace in the region.

Taiwan further proved its ability to negotiate peacefully with Japan in 2016 after resolving conflict that arose when a native fishing vessel crossed into disputed waters, said Kamphausen. Since the incident, the two countries have established an annual maritime affairs meeting, he said, which has enhanced cooperation on multiple maritime issues.

Japan’s undersea surveillance architecture would benefit immensely from Taiwan’s early warning radar technology, Kamphausen said, particularly in the Strait of Miyako, from where Beijing sends naval forces to the Philippine Sea and the broader western Pacific.

Kamphausen stressed that while U.S. support could provide a policy backstop against Beijing, having Japan’s support would mean two powerful partners working together against Chinese expansionism.

Following Kamphausen’s comments, Senior Fellow at the U.S. Hudson Institute, Seth Cropsey, said that diplomacy is integral to the success of small states. Cropsey said Taiwan must resist attempts to cut its partnerships with the U.S. and Japan.

Taiwan ought to utilize its technological advancements in tandem with strategic and political measures to provide a robust system of defense against Chinese invasion, he said.

Taiwan could decentralize its survival air defenses and consider mobile surface-to-air missiles hidden in mountains, said Cropsey, which would be less easily detectable.

Creative planning that links technology, tactics, strategy and politics is essential to ensuring Taiwan’s survival, he added.