Japan calls for more attention to Taiwan’s ‘survival’ | World Weekly
Maritime Tensions Update in Asia
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Japan’s defense minister called on the international community to pay more attention to “Taiwan’s survival” as he warned that a Chinese military buildup surrounded the island.
Nobu Kishi, younger brother of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told the Financial Times that broad international pressure was crucial to prevent Taiwan’s future from being decided by military confrontation.
His comments marked another step in the speech after Japan broke with years of precedent and directly linked Taiwan’s security and security in the latest defense white paper, with an explicit reference to the need for a “greater sense of crisis.”
The same report, whose cover illustration adorns Kishi’s samurai desk, warned that the overall military balance between China and Taiwan was now “tipped in China’s favour” – a warning reiterated by the minister.
“We are seeing various moves by China that are encircling Taiwan,” Keshi said. Chinese military aircraft have regularly entered the air defense identification zone off the southwest coast of Taiwan since last year.
Beijing also began flying around the island’s southern tip in the airspace off its southeast coast, and Chinese military aircraft flew parallel to the northern half of Taiwan’s east coast earlier this year. Chinese naval ships have been increasingly spotted in the waters off the east coast of Taiwan.
Keshi is known for his close ties to politicians in Taipei and is seen as both conservative and hawkish in China. It was recently photographed Gaze across the 110-kilometer-long strait that separates Taiwan from Japan’s westernmost island of Yonaguni.
Kishi said Japan’s strong message is that peace in the Taiwan Strait will only be achieved if the international community demands it. “Instead of a direct military collision between China and Taiwan, the international community needs to pay more attention to Taiwan’s survival,” he said.
US and Japanese military officials have begun serious planning for a possible conflict between China and Taiwan, including top-secret tabletop war games and joint exercises, six officials told the Financial Times at the end of June.
Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister, said a crisis in Taiwan could pose an existential threat to Japan, in remarks at a private fundraising event reported by local media. The comments were important because this is the constitutional obstacle to using the Japanese military to support American forces.
But Kishi said that despite its growing concern, Tokyo does not intend to establish a direct military relationship with Taipei, and will maintain the status quo with which the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.
“While maintaining the existing framework, we want to reach mutual understanding through various initiatives, or through an exchange of views between Japan and the United States,” he said.
Although the gap in military power between China and Taiwan widens every year, Kishi has indicated that he believes in Taipei’s ability to defend itself. He said the island was combining “asymmetric military capabilities,” which use cheaper weapons to offset an opponent’s strength, in a “multi-layered defense system.”
As part of Japan’s efforts to increase international attention to the issue, Kishi said that Tokyo welcomes a greater role for European countries in the region, including the upcoming visit of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth.
“Many countries have expressed sympathy with our idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said. By demonstrating their presence in the region, “together we can send a powerful message about regional peace and stability.”
Additional reporting by Catherine Hill in Taipei