Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister, has said that the US and Japan would have to band together to shield Taiwan in an event of conflict, according to Kyodo News. Japan’s leading news agency reported that Taro Aso said a conflict over Taiwan could be devastating for Japan.
“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),” he said.
“We are closely monitoring the situation.”
Tensions have been rising between China and Taiwan as Beijing has suggested the possibility of invading their island neighbour.
On Tuesday, Zhao Lijan, a spokesperson from China’s foreign ministry, warned “no one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch resolve, firm will, and formidable ability to defend national sovereignty.”
Speaking at the Communist Party’s 100th birthday celebrations last week the Chinese President XI Jinping repeated China’s plans on taking back Taiwan.
“Resolving the issue of Taiwan and achieving the complete unification of China is a historical mission and the unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China,” he said.
Taiwan is a democratically ruled nation, however, China claims sovereignty over the island and has indicated plans on merging it with the mainland. Japan’s main concern is that this “unification” will not happen peacefully.
China has not ruled out using force to achieve a desirable goal in regard to Taiwan.
Last week, Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s Defence Minister, announced that the security of Taiwan is directly linked to Japan and stressed the importance of a Japanese intervention.
“The peace and stability of Taiwan are directly connected to Japan and we are closely monitoring ties between China and Taiwan, as well as Chinese military activity,” he told Bloomberg.
“As China strengthens its military, its balance with Taiwan is tipping heavily to the Chinese side.”
This follows reports the US and Japan have been uniting forces and preparing for a conflict with China, conducting joint military exercises and war games.
Serious preparations for a conflict with China began in the last year of Donald Trump’s administration.
The reunification of Taiwan has been in the works for a long time and Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister, is concerned about the global implications.
“I think what we’ll then be moving into is a period which China will be looking at its options to leverage Taiwan back into a form of a political union with China by the time we get to the late 2020s and into the 2030s,” Rudd told CNBC.
“And that’s when I believe it does get dangerous for us all.”
Japan’s deputy prime minister also shared his concerns that China could shift its interests to other islands as well.
“We need to think hard that Okinawa could be the next,” he said, talking about a Japanese prefecture where China claims a number of small uninhabited islands including the Senkaku island.