China protests Japanese DyPM’s comment on defending Taiwan if attacked by Beijing

PTI, Jul 6, 2021, 4:54 PM IST

Beijing: China on Tuesday lodged a diplomatic protest with Japan over what it called ”dangerous” remarks by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso that Tokyo and Washington should jointly defend Taiwan if it is attacked by the Chinese military.

Aso has signalled that Tokyo would consider a Chinese invasion of Taiwan an existential threat to its security, allowing Japan to help defend the self-ruled island with the United States, The Japan Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

”If a major incident happened (over Taiwan), it’s safe to say it would be related to a situation threatening the survival (of Japan). If that is the case, Japan and the US must defend Taiwan together,” Aso, known for his outspokenness, was quoted as saying.

Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi was on Tuesday quoted as saying that Tokyo would make a comprehensive judgment whether a situation threatened Japan’s survival and the exercise of collective self-defence was necessary ”based on the specific situation and information collected.”

Reacting angrily to Aso’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said such remarks are ”extremely wrong and dangerous” and runs counter to the ‘One-China’ policy under which Beijing asserts that the estranged island of Taiwan is part of the Chinese mainland.

”China rejects this and has lodged solemn representation with the Japanese side,” he said.

”Japan’s militarism once committed deplorable crimes against China,” he said, in an apparent reference to the Japanese invasion of China in World War II.

”Some Japanese politicians still want to make Taiwan it’s own which shows their failure to learn lessons from history,” Zhao said.

”China was no longer what it was in history and we will never allow any country to interfere in the Taiwan question and no one should underestimate Chinese people’s strong determination, will and ability to safeguard national sovereignty,” he said.

His comments came in the backdrop of July 1 remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who in his address to the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) here said that the ”reunification” of Taiwan with the mainland is a ”historic mission” and an ”unshakable commitment.”

In his speech, Xi also warned against underestimating China’s resolve to integrate the self-administered island of Taiwan with the Chinese mainland stating that it is a historic mission of the ruling party.

Japan’s stance over Taiwan was hardening. It has watched with apprehension as China has ramped up its military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan in recent months, The Japan Times report said.

This included China’s dispatch last month of a record 28 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone just days after the G7 leaders mentioned Taiwan in a joint statement for the first time ever, urging “the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.”

Not wanting to upset China, Tokyo had long taken a quiet stance on the Taiwan issue, but has embarked on a bolder approach recently, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga earlier this year mentioning it in a joint statement with US President Joe Biden – the first such reference since 1969, the report said.

Japan has also highlighted its support for Taiwan through the donation and pledged a donation of more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, much to the chagrin of China.

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