Japan and the US are to discuss plans for their troops to jointly deal with a potential stand-off between China and Taiwan, Kyodo news agency reported, a move that has already raised Beijing's ire.
Defense and foreign affairs officials from Tokyo and Washington would open talks next month and assess various crises that might occur across the Taiwan Strait, including providing logistical support for US troops in the event of a conflict, the agency said late on Wednesday, citing officials from both countries.
Kyodo said the discussions were thought to reflect the wishes of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is considered to be pro-Taiwan.
Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, told the Diet in 2005 that Japan did not anticipate providing military cooperation to the US during any crisis in the Taiwan Strait, the report said.
Any Japanese military contribution would be limited under its Constitution, but the two sides would consider having Japanese troops provide rear-area support, including supplies, transport and medical services for US troops, as well as ship inspection and search and rescue work, Kyodo said.
China quickly expressed concern over the plans.
"Taiwan is an inseparable part of China's territory and any arrangement between Japan and the United States should respect the one-China principle," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao (劉建超) told a news conference yesterday.
"We have expressed great concern," he added, calling "independence forces" in Taiwan "the greatest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."
US-Japan talks on the issue could also stir controversy in Japan. The government has in the past been vague about whether Taiwan is part of Japan's "surrounding areas," meaning those to which its contingency legislation would apply.
Japan and the US will also discuss details of how they would deal with contingencies in North Korea following Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests last year, the Asahi Shimbun said yesterday.
Tokyo and Washington last month began to study possible plans involving North Korea, including their response to a possible conflict on the peninsula or a missile attack on Japan, the Asahi Shimbun said.
Japanese troops could carry out search and rescue missions for US troops, refuel US military planes and ships, and allow them to use Japanese air bases and sea ports for attacks on North Korea, the report said, citing unnamed officials. The allies could also work together to shoot down missiles and attack Pyongyang's missile bases, the report said.
Tokyo and Washington already work together on security policy in the region.
The US stations about 50,000 troops in Japan under a security treaty, and the allies stepped up efforts to build a missile defense system following North Korea's nuclear test in October.
Foreign Ministry official Naoki Kumagai said Tokyo and Washington "are discussing responses to possible regional contingencies," but refused to elaborate.
He agreed, however, that the nuclear standoff with North Korea and tension between China and Taiwan were "key concerns" facing Japan and the US in the region.
Japan, which resumed ties with communist China in 1972, has so far balked at the prospect of getting involved in any conflict in the Taiwan Strait.
The reports came amid a recent drive by Tokyo to raise its political and military profile overseas.
Abe has promised to change the Japanese Constitution to give freer rein to its military missions overseas.
Japan is also considering an upgrade of its Defense Agency to a full-fledged ministry.
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),