Taiwan, Japan ruling parties hold first security talks

The ruling parties of Taiwan and Japan held their first bilateral talks on security policies on Friday, in a move seen as directed at the challenge posed by an increasingly assertive China.

The 2-on-2 virtual dialogue lasted about 90 minutes and was attended by Lo Chih-cheng (???) and Tsai Shih-ying (???) of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), with Masahisa Sato and Taku Otsuka of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), DPP spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-fen (???) told reporters after the meeting.

On Taiwan’s side, Lo and Tsai are both members of the Legislative Yuan and serve on the Foreign and National Defense Committee.

On the Japan side, Sato is a member of the House of Councilors and Otsuka is a member of the House of Representatives. They are the respective directors of the LDP’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense divisions.

According to Hsieh, the meeting started with Sato’s remarks, who said both sides hope to strengthen cooperation through exchanges between legislators as official contacts are still impeded by the lack of diplomatic relations.

Sato mentioned that such strengthening of cooperation is needed as China’s unilateral actions in the region have altered the status quo and impacted the security of Japan and the Taiwan Strait, Hsieh said.

Otsuka echoed Sato and said China’s rising military power has undermined stability in the region and affected the world order, according to Hsieh.

He then said the LDP’s National Defense division has proposed to the Japanese government that it should make bold changes in policies and increase related budgets to help maintain regional stability, Hsieh said.

Lo, according to Hsieh, told his Japanese counterpart that both parties have to act together on issues relating to security, environmental protection and economic growth to maintain their free and democratic way of life.

He was also quoted by Hsieh as saying that today’s dialogue is supported not only by both ruling parties but also both peoples and is certain to produce fruitful results.

Tsai recalled the historical ties between Taiwan and Japan since the Japanese colonial period and hoped that this security dialogue can become a regular event and serve as a new channel of communication between both countries, Hsieh said.

The dialogue came amid China’s increased military activities in the region, such as the almost daily entry of China’s military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and the transit of warships near Japan’s waters.

Meanwhile, Shi Yinhong (???), a retired professor at the School of International Studies at Renmin University in China, told CNA earlier on Thursday that a policy of “joint military intervention” by Japan and the United States the moment armed conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Strait is taking shape.

Shi described the just concluded dialogue as the first “open and direct political and military connection” between Taiwan and Japan since Tokyo established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1972.

He said under Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, strategic cooperation between Japan and the United States on issues relating to Taiwan has strengthened rapidly and touched the redline laid down by China on Taiwan, leading to an “unprecedented” dangerous situation.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel