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Report: US, Japan draft joint military response plan to Chinese attack on Taiwan

Marines run to board MV-22B Osprey at Futenma Air Station, Okinawa, Japan, June 29, 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Dominic Clay)
December 27, 2021

The U.S. and Japan drafted a plan for a joint military operation that will take place if China attacks Taiwan, according to a new report on Thursday.

The “two-plus-two” plan stipulates that upon a Taiwan emergency, U.S. Marines would deploy to establish temporary attack bases equipped with artillery rocket systems on Japan’s Nansei island chain near Taiwan, while Japan’s military provides ammunition, fuel, and other logistical support, Japan’s Kyodo News reported.

The plan identified 40 potential sites for attack bases along the Nansei island chain, which comprises 200 islands both developed and uninhabited. The islands would become a target for China in such a scenario, the sources said, so the U.S. Marines would shift base locations

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command reportedly approached Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to create the plan, Japanese government sources told Kyodo News. The plan would be carried out if Japan determines the China-Taiwan conflict escalated to the point of jeopardizing Japan’s peace and security.

A Pentagon spokesperson told The Hill that the U.S. and Japan “share a strong commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and both are “committed to enhancing resiliency and interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces and deepening operational cooperation during peacetime and various regional contingencies.”

Taiwan is a self-governing island off the coast of China, but the Chinese Communist Party says the sovereign nation will eventually come under its control through force if necessary. Taiwan has repeatedly said the island nation needs to prepare for a military conflict with China and will do whatever is necessary to defend itself.

China has increased its aggression toward Taiwan, signalizing a possible imminent invasion. China sends near-daily warplane flights around Taiwan’s air defense zone and has increased its deployment of warships in the region.

In July, Japan vowed to stand with the U.S. in defense of Taiwan against China because China could just as easily turn its aggression on Japan.

“If a major problem took place in Taiwan, it would not be too much to say that it could relate to a survival-threatening situation [for Japan],” Japan Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said at the time. “We need to think hard that Okinawa could be the next.”

An op-ed published in China’s state-run publication Global Times in response to Aso threatened Japan, saying it would be “digging its own grave” if the nation involved itself in the Taiwan issue.

“Japan itself is powerless against the Chinese military,” the op-ed asserted.