The ruling parties of Taiwan and Japan yesterday held their first diplomatic and defense policy discussion, with representatives of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) pledging to support Taiwan’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The 90-minute videoconference was attended by Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) and Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), with LDP Foreign Affairs division director Masahisa Sato and National Defense division director Taku Otsuka, DPP spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-fen (謝佩芬) said after the meeting.
The Japanese representatives asked Taipei to facilitate an investment by the Taiwanese semiconductor industry — especially Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) — into the Japanese chip industry, Lo said.
Photo courtesy of the Democratic Progressive Party
The LDP representatives also pledged to back Taiwan’s bid to enter the CPTPP, as its participation in the organization is an important goal for Taiwan and regional partners, and would improve Taiwan-Japan relations, Lo said.
Both sides mentioned their concern over the presence of Chinese military vessels and aircraft in Japan’s southwestern and Taiwan’s northeastern sea zones, Tsai said.
Japan said it would invest a significant sum of the next fiscal year’s defense budget to bolster its air superiority in the region, while Taiwan said it would seek to increase its defense and take measures to secure its northeastern front, he said.
Both sides discussed military cooperation, which each said they would forward to their respective defense ministries, he said, adding that he could not comment on the specifics of the dialogue.
They also discussed the US’ resolve to support Taiwan’s defense, Lo added.
The party representatives also agreed to promote coast guard collaborations, Tsai said, adding that just before the meeting started, Sato wrote on Twitter, in Japanese, that “one day, the coast guards of Japan, Taiwan and the US will conduct joint training.”
While the issue of vaccines had not been brought up, Lo said that he had thanked the LDP and the Japanese government for donating vaccines to Taiwan, adding that it would deepen bilateral ties.
The Japan side said that its House of Councilors, the upper house of Japan’s Diet, in June introduced a motion to support Taiwan’s participation in the WHO as an observer.
In a separate comment to reporters after the meeting, Lo said that developing better Taiwan-Japan relations is backed by strong public support.
International affairs are changing, as many nations begin to express doubts about China, and Beijing’s bellicose attitude and military ambitions were among the many issues that led to the meeting, Lo said.
Sato said the dialogue would help inform the Japanese ruling party’s policymaking.
“The Taiwanese side said they had been waiting and hoping for such a dialogue ... [we both] felt it was significant to come up with common goals between the ruling parties that can lead to government policy for both countries,” Sato said.
China last week condemned the talks, saying that Japan should not send the “wrong signals” about Taiwan’s independence.
Lo brushed off China’s objections, saying it was expected.
“Taiwan, as a sovereign and independent country, has the right to promote bilateral and multilateral ties with all countries,” he said.
Additional reporting by Reuters and CNA
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