An official at Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) yesterday urged Taiwan, Japan and the US to establish a mechanism for defense cooperation, as China might increase pressure on Taipei from next year to 2027.
LDP Foreign Affairs Division head Masahisa Sato made the remarks at a forum held by the Taipei-based Institute for National Policy Research.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is attempting to take Taiwan, with next year to 2027 being a critical period, said Sato, who is a member of the Japanese Diet’s upper house.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Time is short, so Japan feels a sense of urgency, he said.
He suggested that Taiwan, Japan and the US establish a diplomatic and defense cooperation mechanism as soon as possible, adding that should Beijing make a move on Taiwan, it might be too late to start coordinating the three nations’ efforts.
The Bashi Channel between Taiwan proper and the Philippines is outside the observation range of Japanese radar, he said.
Taipei should establish a direct link to Tokyo to notify it of adversary movements in the channel, he said, adding that information on movements in the Miyako Strait near Japan’s Ryukyu Islands should also be exchanged.
Satellite images showed that China had built a replica of Japan’s Kadena Air Base in its Gansu Province, adding that it indicates that Beijing sees the base on Okinawa Island as a potential target.
If Beijing seeks to attack Taiwan, it might launch an attack on Okinawa first and use bases on the island to reach targets in Hualien County, which it might not reach as easily from across the Taiwan Strait, he said.
Should Beijing deny commercial vessels access to the waters around Taiwan proper, it might cut Japan and South Korea off from fuel imports, he said.
This would result in fuel shortages and soaring prices, which would severely affect the Japanese economy, he said.
In such a scenario, North Korea might further provoke a war on the Korean Peninsula, and Russia might attack disputed islands north of Japan’s Hokkaido Island, he said.
China, Russia and North Korea might cooperate, he said, adding that Japan should prepare a strategy to counter such moves.
However, should Japanese and US troops be forced into any other conflict in the region, the countries might not be able to dispatch personnel and weaponry to Taiwan in the case of a Chinese attack, he said.
Cooperation between the US’ 7th Fleet and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force would be important, he added.
The US public should understand Taiwan’s importance to national interest, as well as the interdependence between the nation and Japan, he said.
Taiwan and Japan should show the US government and US Congress their determination to strengthen their defense capabilities and maintain regional stability, he said.
Due to the short distance between the countries, Japan would treat Taiwan’s peace and stability as its own business, Japanese Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama said.
The situations in the Middle East and Central Asia affects the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, he added.
The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan makes maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, especially Taiwan, essential, he said.
As the US is now focused on the region, people throughout Asia should be aware of the urgency, especially as discourses in the region’s countries are affected by bad actors on social media, he said.
Therefore Japan and Taiwan should establish cooperation on Internet security cooperation, he added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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