Taiwan and Japan should join forces with other democracies to safeguard regional security, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday told a visiting Japanese delegation, whose members lauded Taipei’s decision to revamp it military service.
Tsai said that Taiwan seeks to deepen security arrangements and bolster ties with Japan as she met with the delegation at the Presidential Office in Taipei.
The nation would also engage in closer cooperation with democratic countries such as Japan, the US and European nations, to serve the common goals of maintaining peace and security, and to achieve free trade and economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, she said.
Taiwan is also seeking to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and asks Japanese lawmakers to support the nation in its bid, Tsai said.
The two sides discussed Japan’s revision of three key national security documents amid increasing threats from China to imply that Tokyo could act on “contingencies” around Taiwan, which lies about 100km from Okinawa Prefecture’s westernmost island.
Tsai said Taiwan welcomes the revision and reiterated that the nation would take responsibility for its self-defense, adding that on Tuesday she announced a move to expand mandatory conscription to one year and that her government would make other changes to the military’s composition.
In the revamped national defense plan, Taiwan is to bolster its reservist system and is considering establishing a civilian militia, while those who have signed up as professional soldiers would form the main body of the armed forces.
Japanese lawmaker Hiroshige Seko, who heads the delegation, through an interpreter lauded the new defense plan.
“We learned of President Tsai’s announcement of the major policy change on Taiwan’s national defense yesterday... Along with restoring mandatory military service to one year, she also presented programs to strengthen the armed forces and enhance Taiwan’s defense capability,” Seko said.
The new plan also includes increased spending for weapons procurement and the purchase of next-generation missile systems, signaling Taiwan’s resolve to take charge of its self-defense.
Seko said that Tsai “made this clear with the new military policy, which I shall give very high praise.”
Japan’s latest national defense paper has made it clear that Tokyo would not tolerate unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait, Seko said.
He said Japan recently revised its National Security Strategy, with a pledge to significantly increase defense spending to boost its military capability and preparedness, and to respond to contingencies in the region.
In the strategy document approved on Dec. 16, Japan designated Taiwan as an “extremely important partner,” Seko said, adding that the Japanese government attaches great importance to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Separately, the White House in a statement welcomed Taiwan’s pledge to revamp its military, saying that it underscores “Taiwan’s commitment to self-defense and strengthens deterrence.”
A White House spokesperson said the US “will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability in line with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act and our one China policy.”
“The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues, and oppose any unilateral changes in the status quo by either side,” they said.
Taiwanese tourists on board a Kinmen cruise ship had a scare yesterday when it was intercepted by Chinese coast guards who forcefully boarded the vessel to inspect it. The Sunrise, a tourism ferry that operates between Kinmen and Xiamen, China, was sailing around the waters around the islets of Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽) — both of which are part of Kinmen County — yesterday afternoon when it encountered personnel from China’s Fujian Coast Guard Bureau. China Coast Guard personnel forced their way on board and conducted an inspection for about 30 minutes before leaving, local media cited the tourists as saying. The
SEEKING CALM: The US called for maintaining the ‘status quo,’ while the Ministry of National Defense said it would not bolster defenses in the area to avoid raising tensions Taiwanese should have greater faith in the government’s investigation into the capsizing of a Chinese vessel that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said yesterday, adding that Taiwan abides by the rule of law. On Wednesday last week, a Chinese speedboat was spotted trespassing in “prohibited” waters within 1.1 nautical miles (2km) of the east coast of Kinmen. It fled after refusing the coast guard’s request to board the vessel, setting off a chase that led to the boat capsizing, with two Chinese fishers dying. Two survivors were deported back to China
KINMEN: Coast guards on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should prohibit the entry of illegal vessels into ‘restricted’ waters to uphold maritime safety, Chen Chien-jen said Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday called for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to approach the security of Kinmen and Xiamen waters with rationality and equitability, following a boat chase that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week. Chen was responding to media inquiries ahead of a legislative session amid rising cross-strait tensions following the capsizing of a Chinese speedboat off the east coast of Kinmen on Wednesday last week during a pursuit by the Taiwanese coast guard. The Ministry of National Defense established the boundaries of “prohibited” and “restricted” waters around Kinmen in 1992 to better protect
COMMUNICATION: A US representative said that Starshield is inactive in and around Taiwan, which could put US military personnel at risk in the Western Pacific in a conflict Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) might have contravened its Pentagon contract by not providing access to its satellite communication network Starshield in and around Taiwan, a letter from a US House of Representatives committee to the company said. In September last year, the US Department of Defense awarded SpaceX a one-year contract for Starshield access, worth US$100 million. A few months before that, the Pentagon also commissioned SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network to be used by Ukrainian forces amid Russia’s invasion. Starshield is a derivative of Starlink intended for military use. SpaceX has long worked closely with the US military and intelligence agencies, which