US, Japan draw up joint military plan for possible Taiwan emergency: report

Gray Gibson/U.S. Navy via Associated Press

The U.S. and Japanese militaries have made a draft plan for a joint operation should an emergency with Taiwan arise, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Thursday.

The report cited unidentified Japanese government sources.

Under the draft plan,  the U.S. Marine Corps would deploy troops to and set up temporary bases on the Nansei island chain, an archipelago of Japan that stretches toward Taiwan, at the first sign of a Taiwan emergency, Kyodo said.

Japanese armed forces, meanwhile, would provide logistical support with ammunition and fuel supplies.

Asked about the draft plan, a Defense Department spokesperson told The Hill that the United States and Japan “share a strong commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and are “committed to enhancing resiliency and interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces and deepening operational cooperation during peacetime and various regional contingencies.”

They would not speak to the specific topics planned for discussion in the 2+2 meetings with Japan. 

Washington and Tokyo would likely reach an agreement to start creating an official version of such a plan at the 2+2 dialogue, a high-level security meeting between diplomatic and defense officials in January.

China in the past two years has increased its aggression toward Taiwan by sending hundreds of military aircraft into the air defense identification zone of the island it sees as a rogue state.

Taiwan, in turn, maintains it is a sovereign country separate from Beijing and said it is preparing for potential invasion that could come in the next several years, though it wants peace.

The tensions have grown so worrisome that the U.S. has called for China “to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” and said Washington will assist Taipei “in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability.”

The United States has a unique relationship with Taiwan in that it has provided military and other types of support since China’s Nationalist government fled there in 1949 following the Chinese Civil War. But Washington has held back from creating official ties with Taipei as part of agreements established since 1979 with Beijing.

It was revealed in October U.S. forces have been secretly training Taiwan’s military forces in the country for at least a year.

Updated at 5:12 p.m.

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