President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) pledged on Saturday to deepen security cooperation with Japan to ensure freedom in the Indo-Pacific, during a meeting with a senior member of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Although Japan and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic ties, they have close unofficial relations and share concerns about China, especially its increased military activities near them.
Meeting in the Presidential Office in Taipei, Tsai thanked Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda, the LDP’s Policy Research Council chairman, for Japan’s support over issues such as maintaining security in and near the Taiwan Strait.
“We have seen in recent years Taiwan-Japan relations have become ever closer,” Tsai said.
“Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with Japan in various fields such as security, and work together to ensure the freedom, openness and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.
Hagiuda said Taiwan was a good friend to Japan and shares its values.
“Taiwan is an extremely important partner and a valued friend of Japan, with whom Japan shares fundamental values such as liberal democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law, as well as close economic relations and personal exchanges,” Hagiuda said.
“In this context, our help and cooperation with one another has built up over time,” he added.
Hagiuda is in Taipei to attend a forum today on Taiwan-Japan relations, and he told Tsai he would pay his respects at the grave of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
The Japan-educated Lee, who died two years ago, was dubbed “Mr Democracy” for ending autocratic rule in favor of pluralism.
Japan has expressed growing concern over China’s belligerence toward Taiwan as Beijing seeks to assert sovereignty over the nation.
China staged military drills near Taiwan in August to express anger toward a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including launching five missiles into the sea close to Okinawa, within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
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