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Thursday, November 22, 2007

In the news ニュース

It's Thanksgiving today, and there's frost on the ground this morning. A common sight in western Washington, but not something you see very often in central Taiwan. We'll be going out for Thanksgiving dinner this evening, along with my parents, sister and nephew.

The Japan Times has an interesting article today, the headline of which says it all: "Seoul, Taipei wanted nukes in Okinawa. Return islands to Japan but stay strong for Cold War, they told U.S."

Here are a few excerpts that mention Taiwan:

"South Korea and Taiwan urged the United States in the late 1960s to return Okinawa 沖縄 to Japan but keep its forces there nuclear-capable in the event of a crisis in East Asia, according to recently declassified U.S. government documents."

"A State Department document of Sept. 12, 1967, said Foreign Minister Wei Tao-ming of Taiwan — which at the time the U.S., Japan and many other countries recognized as a sovereign nation — warned two U.S. government officials on May 15 that year against 'any change' in Okinawa's status. Any U.S. military withdrawal from Okinawa resulting from the island's reversion to Japan 'would cause serious strategic and military problems for Taiwan,' he was quoted as saying. The document said Taiwan's 'primary concern appears to be the possibility of a weakening of Taiwan's security' if Okinawa was returned to Japan and the U.S. military bases there were dismantled."

"Apparently reflecting the South Korean and Taiwanese views, a joint statement issued by (then-Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku) Sato 佐藤榮作 and (then-U.S. President Richard) Nixon after their talks 38 years ago said that while Okinawa would be returned to Japan nuclear-free, South Korean and Taiwanese security was vital to Japan's own security."

I remember reading somewhere that the Republic of China 中華民国 has never officially recognized Okinawa's incorporation into Japan in 1879 (despite the fact the islands have been under de facto Japanese rule since 1609).

Happy Thanksgiving!

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