On Friday, Taipei and Tokyo held unprecedented security talks, which angered China diplomatically. A pair of senior politicians from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) attended the discussions, which were held in a “2+2” format. According to Reuters, they took place online and lasted half an hour longer than planned.

In the context of severity, Japan has taken a more assertive stance when it comes to overall foreign policy. It has come in open support of Taiwan’s democracy and the sustenance of its self-rule. These developments were already irking China and now Japan and Taiwan are having security talks. Masahisa Sato, the LDP’s Foreign Affairs division chair, and Taku Otsuka, the party’s National Defense division chair, were among the Japanese participants.

The Taiwanese were Lo Chihcheng and Tsai Shihying, members of the Foreign and National Defense Committee of the Taipei Assembly. The DPP in Taiwan supports Taiwanese independence, which is a major red flag for Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province. The LDP is a broad, conservative party in Japan, with a component that is hostile to China and wants to extend the role of the country’s constitutionally restrained military.

Nobuko Kishi, Japan’s defence minister, called Taiwan “an important friend” on April 17 and emphasised the need for stability in the region. On June 28, Deputy Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama spoke at the Hudson Institute, a conservative US think group, and said, “We have to protect Taiwan as a democratic country.”

Going ahead, on July 6, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said during a political fundraiser, “If a major problem took place in Taiwan, it would not be too much to say that it could relate to a survival-threatening situation” for Japan. “We need to think hard that Okinawa could be the next,” he added.

In the backdrop of such developments, it becomes obvious that China is rather not happy about the latest development. China has slammed previous statements by LDP officials, and its Foreign Ministry advised Japan earlier this week to refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs — a reference to Taiwan. On Thursday, the Global Times, which is known for its strong sentiments, accused the LDP of “blindly serving as a US pawn to pressure China.”

Team Eastern Interest
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