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Former PM Abe says Japan, U.S. could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan

Reuters
Reuters
 2021-12-01
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TAIPEI, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Japan and the United States could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan, and Beijing needs to understand this, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.

Tensions over Chinese-claimed Taiwan have risen as President Xi Jinping seeks to assert his country's sovereignty claims against the democratically ruled island. Taiwan's government says it wants peace, but will defend itself if needed.

Speaking virtually to a forum organised by Taiwanese think tank the Institute for National Policy Research, Abe noted the Senkaku islands - which China calls the Diaoyu Islands - Sakishima islands and Yonaguni island are a mere 100 km (62 miles) or so away from Taiwan.

An armed invasion of Taiwan would be a grave danger to Japan, he added.

"A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-U.S. alliance. People in Beijing, President Xi Jinping in particular, should never have a misunderstanding in recognising this," Abe said.

Japan is host to major U.S. military bases, including on the southern island of Okinawa, a short flight from Taiwan, which would be crucial for any U.S. support during a Chinese attack.

The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, though there is ambiguity about whether it would send forces to help Taiwan in a war with China.

The United States and its allies would take unspecified "action" if China were to use force to alter the status quo over Taiwan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month.

Abe, who stepped down as prime minister last year, is head of the largest faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and remains influential within the party.

On Sino-Japanese relations going forward, Abe said Japan should advance its ties with China while firmly saying to its giant neighbour what needs to be said, echoing incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

"Japan, Taiwan and all the people who believe in democracy need to keep urging President Xi Jinping and other Chinese Communist Party leaders repeatedly not to step onto a wrong path," Abe said.

Japan and Taiwan must work together to protect freedom and democracy, added Abe, speaking to an audience that included Cheng Wen-tsan, mayor of the northern Taiwanese city of Taoyuan, tipped as a possible future presidential candidate.

"A stronger Taiwan, a thriving Taiwan, and a Taiwan that guarantees freedom and human rights are also in Japan's interests. Of course, this is also in the interests of the whole world," Abe said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Comments / 20

Brett
12-01

China lost Taiwan in 1949. Since when can a country take back a country they gave up years ago. And Abe from Japan is right. If we let this happen then all countries in the world can do it. Do it now and set the example for the future. It's WARTIME CHINA. YOU WILL SEE A WAR THE WORLD AND OTHER PLANETS HAVE NEVER SEEN

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lycan
12-01

This ain’t boots on the ground this is if China don’t get what they want they start pushing buttons.while we complain about trump and Biden and gender free bathrooms those guys are steady building stuff,hypersonic missiles,hypersonic rockets and space vehicles that can fly around earth freely with missiles attached.as far as Taiwan it was called Formosa and inhabitated but formosans,chiniese went thier to get away from mao .however as of right now Russia and China and India basically daily tell the United States what to do and make threats and sleepy joe is in another stuttering episode talking about kids doing homework at McDonald’s-wtf- the end is near unfortunately for China and Russia everyone else is aiming at them so with one launch will be hundreds across the earth,no winners or survivors

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