Japan calls for ‘sense of crisis’ over China-Taiwan tensions
TOKYO – In extremely open terms, Japan warned on Tuesday that the military stance by Beijing and Washington on Taiwan was posing a threat to its security.
“Stabilizing the situation around Taiwan is important for Japan’s security and the stability of the international community,” the Japanese Defense Ministry wrote in its annual white paper. “It is necessary to pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”
Comments suggest that Japan, though still cautious about retreating into rivalry between the United States and China, may be closer to Washington, which has prompted him to face Beijing’s growing military aggression around the region. For a long time, Japan has largely refrained from getting involved in such disputes as it sought to balance its interests between the United States, its most important ally, and China, a critical trading partner.
Concerns in Japan have grown as Washington and Beijing have increased their rhetoric and military presence around Taiwan, the democratic, self-governing island that China claims as its territory. Over the past year, China has repeatedly flew military aircraft in Taiwan air defense identification area and the United States, in response, have sailed by boat through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan lies near the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.
In its white paper, the Japanese Ministry of Defense warned that China’s rapid expansion of its military threatened to upset the balance of power between Washington and Beijing and undermine peace in the region.
In particular, he noted that “the overall military balance between China and Taiwan is tilting in China’s favor, and the gap appears to be widening year by year.”
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Japan of what he described as “extremely wrong and irresponsible” comments.
“China will never allow any country to interfere in any way when it comes to Taiwan,” he told a regular news conference on Tuesday. “Nothing is more conducive to regional peace and stability than China’s full reunification.”
In recent months, as US officials have begun openly raises concerns In connection with China’s growing aggression against Taiwan, Japanese officials have begun addressing the issue.
On a trip to Washington in April, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga joined President Biden to make a rather unusual, albeit anodic, reference to “the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” Still, it was the first time the leaders of the United States and Japan had mentioned Taiwan explicitly since 1969.
And in a speech reported by Japanese news media this month, Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, said his country should work with Washington to protect Taiwan.
Mr Zhao, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, described Mr Aso’s words as “extremely wrong and dangerous”, adding – referring to the colonization of the island during the Second World War in Japan – that “some politicians “They still covet Taiwan to this day.”
Many commentators write comments from the gafa-prone Mr. Aso as more than a language error. But Japan has been under increasing political pressure both at home and abroad to take a tougher stance on China.
Japanese politicians have responded by tightening domestic laws that could be used to reduce Chinese influence in the country’s economy. They have also made symbolic gestures, such as donation of coronavirus vaccines in Taiwan, a move that angered Beijing.