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The ruling parties of Japan and Taiwan will hold their first bilateral security talks on Friday as the two countries seek to strengthen ties to counter an increasingly hostile China.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday, Masahisa Sato, the parliamentarian who manages foreign affairs for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said deeper dialogue is necessary because Taiwan’s future It will have a “serious impact” on Japan’s security and economy.
“That’s how important the situation in Taiwan is right now,” Sato said.
Details of the meeting were revealed online as US Vice President Kamala Harris, during a A visit to Southeast Asia, criticized China for its dangerous behavior towards its neighbors.
“Beijing continues to coerce, intimidate, and make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea,” Harris said in Singapore, calling China’s claims “illegal.” “The United States stands with our allies and partners in confronting these threats,” she added.
Talks between party officials are an alternative to ministerial talks because Japan and Taiwan do not have diplomatic relations. In the future, Sato said, the LDP will aim to hold higher-level talks with Taiwanese government officials.
The dialogue coincides with the beginning in-depth planning Between US and Japanese military officials for a possible conflict between China and Taiwan. Tokyo also directly linked Taiwan’s security to that of Taiwan in a recent defense white paper, going beyond previous years.
Sato and Taku Otsuka, another LDP parliamentarian responsible for defense issues, will hold virtual talks with their counterparts from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Sato called for joint training in rescue operations for natural disasters and marine accidents as a way to deepen ties with Taiwan while maintaining Tokyo’s long-standing policy of not establishing a direct military relationship with Taipei.
From the DPP side, the talks will be attended by Lu Chicheng, a lawmaker who heads the party’s international department, and Tsai Shih-ying, a member of the parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.
Taiwanese politicians said they were encouraged before growing importance Japan is linked to the threat to their country.
“The initiative for these talks came from the Japanese side,” said one of the Taiwanese organizers. He added that Taipei had always believed there was a need for more dialogue with Japan, especially on security matters, citing the official Monterrey talks where the United States and Taiwan discuss defense issues as a model.
“Given that all four participants are members of Parliament, it is somewhat similar to the course of the first dialogue,” he said. “Although we will attend as party officials, we all have a direct influence on politics.”
China warned Japan last week not to interfere in its internal affairs and urged Tokyo to reconsider party-level talks with Taipei.
“The Chinese side firmly opposes all forms of official interactions between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic relations with China,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
Additional reporting by Mercedes Roel in Singapore