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Japan’s support for Taiwan grows vocal as tensions with China rise

The military balance across the Taiwan Strait seems to be tilting toward China as the bilateral gap widens

Amid a growing rift with China in the East and South China seas, Japan has signalled that it would visibly stand by Taiwan to ensure a stable balance of power in the Pacific. Taiwan’s stability remains important for Japan and the international community, reveals the annual draft defence white paper released by Tokyo, thus once again underscoring the significance of Taiwan’s security for Japan while highlighting the military threat posed by China.

The draft defence paper from Japan for the first time mentions the importance of Taiwan’s stability for Japan and the international community, reported Taipei Times while Kyodo News added that the draft is to be formally approved at a Cabinet meeting in July.

The paper highlights the provocation of Chinese coast guard vessels near the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which Japan claims as its own. The draft paper also notes China’s military activities in the South China Sea, said Kyodo News.

"The military balance across the Taiwan Strait seems to be tilting toward China as the bilateral gap widens, which deserves more attention, the report cited the draft as saying," it added.

The wording echoes a joint statement that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden made on April 16 underscoring “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and encouraging “the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.”

According to the Taipei Times, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that it could not comment on the draft white paper, as it has not been reviewed by the Japanese Cabinet, adding that it is closely watching the paper’s development.

"Japan’s diplomatic blue book, unveiled last month, highlighted China’s military expansionism and increased maritime activities, saying they pose serious security concerns for the region and the world. While the blue book still defines Japan’s ties with China as among its most important, its descriptions of China are cast in a 'hard tone' rarely found in previous editions, Institute for National Defense and Security Research assistant research fellow Wang Tsun-yen said in a report last week," the newspaper reported.