Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe warned China on Wednesday of the consequences of its possible armed intervention on Taiwan, which he said would constitute “an emergency for the Japan-United States alliance” and “economic suicide” for Beijing.
Abe spoke on this hypothetical scenario in the context of growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait, during his speech at a virtual forum organized this Wednesday by the Taiwanese think tank National Political Research Institute.
“In case there is an emergency in Taiwan, that also means an emergency for Japan, and for the Japan-US alliance. In Beijing, and in particular President Xi Jinping, they should never be confused when it comes to understanding this.“Said Abe during his speech at the forum, picked up by the Japanese media.
“Japan, Taiwan and all of us who believe in democracy need to insist to Xi and the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party that they do not take the wrong path.”Noted the one who was the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Japan (2012-2020) and still considered one of the most influential figures within the ruling Japanese party.
Taiwan, an island of democratic government, lives under the threat of a Chinese military action, which considers the island as part of its territory and says that it intends to take it back one day. Beijing has intensified pressure on the island since the coming to power of President Tsai Ing-wen, who rejects that Taiwan is part of “one China.”
“A military adventure (in Taiwan) would be China’s economic suicide ”and would also cause“ serious damage to the world economy ”, added Abe, who left office for health reasons in September last year and is still a deputy in the Lower House of the Japanese Parliament.
Abe also recalled that the Senkaku Islands, administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing (which calls them Diaoyu), are located about 100 kilometers from Taiwan, as well as other remote islands in the southwest of the Japanese archipelago.
Japan has a bilateral Defense treaty with the United States, which in turn has in Okinawa (southwest Japan) some of its largest military bases in the Pacific. In turn, Washington maintains an ambiguous relationship with Taiwan, an autonomous territory with which it broke its official diplomatic relations in 1979 in favor of Beijing, although it continues to maintain informal relations with the island and has sold military equipment to the Taiwanese authorities.
The Act of Relations with Taiwan approved by the United States establishes that Washington will help Taipei in defense matters, although it leaves it undefined if the North American country would intervene in a possible Chinese attack on the island.
Beijing summoned the Japanese ambassador to China over Abe’s “grossly erroneous statements” on Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.
In its response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry told Japanese Ambassador Hideo Tarumi that Abe’s comments “seriously interfere” in China’s internal affairs. “Historically, Japan has launched a war of aggression against China, committing heinous crimes against the Chinese,” Hua Chunying, aide to the foreign minister, said in the statement.
“He does not have the right or the power to make irresponsible statements on the Taiwan issue,” he added.
The Pentagon this week unveiled plans to reinforce and expand its military bases in Guam and Australia, with an eye toward China.
(With information from EFE and AFP)
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