Taiwan’s chief representative in Japan has called for a commitment from Japan and the United State to maintaining peace on the island to be clarified in a joint statement at a summit between Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden meeting this month.
For Japan, a contingency in Taiwan “would by no means be someone else’s problem,” Hsieh Chang-ting, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, said in an interview in Tokyo on Thursday.
Hsieh welcomed the “two-plus-two” meeting of the Japanese and U.S. top diplomats and defense ministers in Tokyo last months. The joint statement that resulted from those talks featured a section that stressed “the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
With the United States increasingly concerned over a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, a contingency surrounding the self-ruled island is expected to be on the agenda for the April 16 Suga-Biden meeting.
“I hope the planned joint statement will clarify the two countries’ determination to stop China from changing the status quo by force or invading Taiwan and to maintain regional peace and stability,” Hsieh said of the scheduled meeting.
If such a determination is set out in a joint statement, “everyone (in Taiwan) can feel stronger,” he said.
“If Taiwan is invaded and the United States ends up doing nothing, the United States would lose its status as a world leader,” Hsieh said.
Noting that Japan would likely need to provide support for U.S. troops under the two countries’ alliance, he called the lack of joint defense exercises between Japan, the U.S. and Taiwan a big problem.
To rectify this, he urged Japan to hash out legislation similar to the United States’ 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which defines the country’s security relations with Taiwan.
Hsieh said China is now a strong believer in its growing power, adding that people in Taiwan are increasingly worried about Beijing’s behavior on the issue of Hong Kong.
What China says, including the “one country, two systems” formula and peaceful unification, cannot be trusted, he said.
“As Taiwan will firmly uphold democracy, we want Japan to offer continued support,” he added.
“The current enemy (of China) is the United States. Japan will be next,” Hsieh said, adding, “If Taiwan is unified by China, Japan would have to face China directly.”
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