Taiwan is a country. We lose more than we gain by sticking to the “One China” pun
How long will the puns last?
In an April 17 column, the Asahi Shimbun wrote about the comment by the leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Yukio Edano, that Taiwan is a “country”. The newspaper focused on the word “country”, saying “Edano’s international conscience is likely to be called into question.”
Later, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato effectively corrected a statement by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in which Suga also referred to Taiwan as a “country”. Again, the word “country” was the problem.
Kato was recently asked about Japan’s stance on Taiwan by a Hong Kong-based TV station. Kato said, “As stated in the 1972 Sino-Japanese Communiqué, Japan’s relations with Taiwan are non-governmental. This position has not changed.
So far, the Japanese government has adhered to the “one China” principle, calling Taiwan a “region” as opposed to a “country”.
However, in the statement, it simply states that China’s position – that Taiwan is an integral part of China – should be sufficiently understood and respected.
In reality, Taiwan has a population of 24 million and is a democracy. Therefore, to insist that Taiwan is not a “country” is futile.
Japan may not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but the same can be said of North Korea, which is treated as a “country” and not as a region by the Japanese media and politicians. For example, in May 2018, politician Taro Kono called North Korea a “country”, and no one saw that as a problem.
“We are grateful for the deep friendship,” President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted on May 28, thanking Japan for its assistance in getting COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.
When you consider that Japan has provided humanitarian aid, such as food and medicine, to Taiwan on numerous occasions, which it is more appropriate to describe here as the country, Taiwan or North Korea?
Moreover, even if we try to choose words that appease China – a country which is globally criticized for genocide – we will end up losing more than we gain.
(Find access to the Sankei-sho column in Japanese on this link.)
Author: Le Sankei Shimbun