Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) endorsed Japan’s move to affirm its right to “collective self-defense,” saying it will strengthen the US-Japan strategic alliance and help stabilize the region.
The new rule was passed by the Cabinet led by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday and approves a reinterpretation of Article 9 in the constitution that allows the nation’s military to come to the aid of allies if they come under attack, even if Japan itself is not facing a foreign threat of force.
“The right to ‘collective self-defense’ is important to Japan and the US. Although the US has a powerful military, the nation is facing economic difficulty. Now that Japan is willing to exercise that right, the US will be more assured. It will also strengthen the US-Japan strategic alliance,” Lee said.
The former president said follow-up developments would see countries like the Philippines, Australia and India having closer military ties with Japan, and that Taiwan is to be affected as well.
Lee said the changed environment would lead to more restrained behavior by China, which behaves aggressively toward weaker nations amid its economic growth, such as by always bringing up [its claims on] the Diaoyutai Islands [釣魚台, or Senkaku Islands in Japan] and maritime disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.
“After Japan’s approving the exercise of its right to collective self-defense, China will become less likely to make aggressive moves, so the entire Asian region will have more stability,” Lee said after attending a youth leadership training workshop.
“Japan should take this opportunity to amend Article 9 in its constitution. I also hope to see Japan make serious efforts to draft its own ‘Taiwan Relations Act,’ so Taiwan can have more stability,” he said.
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