Japan welcomed the victory of Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen in the presidential election on Saturday, saying Tokyo hopes to strengthen relations with Taipei under her leadership.
Calling Taiwan “an important partner and a precious friend” that shares “basic values,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement that the outcome of the election shows democracy has “deeply taken root” in Taiwan.
As Japan has maintained a “working relationship on a nongovernmental basis” with Taiwan, Kishida said the government “will work toward further deepening cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Taiwan.”
Forging closer ties with Taiwan is viewed as increasingly important to Japan amid the rise of an assertive China in the East and South China seas.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who places importance on Japan’s relations with Taiwan, held talks with Tsai in Taiwan in 2011 before he returned to power in 2012.