Japanese State Minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama on Monday warned of a growing threat posed by Chinese and Russian collaboration, and said it was necessary to “wake up” to Beijing’s pressure on Taiwan and protect it “as a democratic country.”
Speaking to the Hudson Institute think tank, Nakayama questioned whether the decision of many countries, including Japan and US, to follow a “one China” policy that has recognized Beijing over Taipei since the 1970s would stand the test of time.
“Was it right?” he asked at the online event, referring to how future generations would judge policymakers on the issue. “I don’t know.”
Democratic countries have to protect each other, he said, adding that he had in the past referred to Taiwan as a “red line.”
“So we have to protect Taiwan as a democratic country,” he said.
Japan and Taiwan are geographically close, and if something happened in Taiwan, it would affect Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, where US forces and their families are based, he said.
“We are not friends of Taiwan, we are brothers,” he said.
Nakayama highlighted growing threats posed by China in space, in missile technology, in the cyberdomain, and in nuclear and conventional forces, and said that under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) leadership, it had “aggressive, aggressive ... thought and will.”
“So wake up. We have to wake up,” he said.
Nakayama’s comments drew an angry response from Beijing, with Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) saying: “We deplore the erroneous remarks by the senior official of the Japanese government, and we have lodged solemn representations.”
Nakayama had “falsely accused” China over “normal national defense developments,” he told a regular media briefing.
“This is highly sinister, dangerous and irresponsible. This politician also openly called Taiwan a country, in serious violation of the China-Japan joint statement,” he said.
“We urge the Japanese government to make a clarification and ensure this will not happen again,” he said.
Nakayama said it was necessary to show deterrence to China as well as Russia, which had stepped up exercises in Japanese-claimed territory and near Hawaii.
“You can see China and Russia collaborating together, when they are doing some military exercise around our neighbors,” Nakayama said, adding that he wanted to see the US “stronger, stronger and stronger.”
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
EXPOSED: Some Taipei wardens reported joining the trips out of peer pressure, while others said they were relieved it was made public so they could refuse, a city councilor said Nearly 30 percent of Taipei borough wardens have joined group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government, leading prosecutors probing potential Chinese interference in January’s elections to question local officials, an investigation showed. Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) and Chen E-jun (陳怡君) have reported cases of Taipei borough wardens inviting residents to join inexpensive privately organized group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government. The six-day trips reportedly cost NT$10,000 to NT$15,000, the councilors said. An investigation by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) showed that nearly 30 percent
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of
GOOD NEWS: Although open civic spaces are shrinking in Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Taiwan’s openness is a positive sign, an expert said Taiwan remains the only country in Asia with an “open” civic space for the fifth consecutive year, the Civicus Monitor said in a report released yesterday. The People Power Under Attack 2023 report named Taiwan as one of only 37 open countries or territories out of 198 globally, and the only one in Asia. Compiled by Civicus — a global alliance of civil society organizations dedicated to bolstering civil action — the ranking compiled annually since 2017 measures the state of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression around the world. Researchers assign each country or territory one of five rankings describing the