How should the United States and Japan respond individually or collectively in case of a contingency in the Taiwan Strait? This question has been treated as an extremely sensitive issue in the politics of East Asia over the past 50 years and the answer to it has been kept ambiguous.

In the process of normalizing diplomatic relations with China, Washington said it “acknowledged” the Chinese position that Taiwan was part of China, and Tokyo stated that it “fully understood and respected” the Chinese position. Yet the United States and Japan have each refrained from making their stances clear on the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty and have maintained that cross-strait differences should be resolved peacefully through dialogues between Taipei and Beijing.

As China boosts its military capabilities and the era of conciliatory moods between the U.S. and China, and across the Taiwan Strait, is coming to an end, however, more people are calling for both the United States and Japan to rethink their ambiguous positions.