Cross-strait peace important to Japan: Japanese lawmaker – Focus Taiwan

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Taipei, May 4 (CNA) A visiting Japanese lawmaker on Thursday said peace across the Taiwan Strait is important for both Tokyo and Taipei given their geographical proximity, in response to remarks by China’s top envoy to Japan that connecting the security of Taiwan and Japan is “absurd and dangerous.”

“No matter what China says, given the geographical proximity between Taiwan and Japan…cross-strait and regional peace and stability is not only important to Japan, but also to the entire world,” Diet member Norikazu Suzuki told reporters in Taipei.

Suzuki said a recent communiqué issued after the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers’ meeting held in Nagano Prefecture in Japan from April 16-18 also reaffirmed peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element in the security and prosperity of the international community.

Suzuki, who is head of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) Youth Division, added that Japan will continue to act accordingly based on that principle.

He made the remarks when asked to comment on the statement made by Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao (吳江浩) last week.

At a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on April 28, Wu warned that Japan should not interfere in China’s internal affairs, stressing that the Taiwan question is at the core of China’s core interests and concerns the foundation of China-Japan relations, which he described as “a red line that cannot be crossed.”

The remarks that “a Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency” is “absurd and dangerous,” said Wu, adding that it is illogical and harmful to link matters that are purely China’s internal affairs with Japan’s security.

“A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-U.S. alliance,” was first said by late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December 2021.

Suzuki is leading a 12-member LDP Youth Division delegation on a five-day visit from Tuesday to Sunday.

On Thursday, the delegation also met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office. During the meeting, Suzuki stressed that the security of the Taiwan Strait and the stability of the Indo-Pacific area relates to Japan’s national interest.

At a time when the world is facing such challenges as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan and Japan should work together to uphold their values, and any unilateral changes to the status quo by force must be opposed, he said.

According to Suzuki, the LDP’s Youth Division supports Taiwan’s inclusion in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and will do its best to help Taiwan with its ascension bid.

Taiwan has been keen to join the CPTPP, a Tokyo-led transatlantic trade bloc representing a market of 500 million people and accounting for 13.5 percent of global trade.

However, any new ascension to the CPTPP requires the unanimous support of its signatories, which currently include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

In addition, Japan backs Taiwan’s efforts to take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, Suzuki said.

Taiwan has not received an invitation to this year’s WHA, which is slated to be held in Geneva, Switzerland from May 21-30, the country’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said earlier this week.

The country has been excluded from the WHA since 2017 due to opposition from China, which has taken a hard line against Tsai and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party.

During the administration of Kuomintang President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) from 2009 to 2016, delegates from Taiwan were allowed to take part in the WHA as observers under the name “Chinese Taipei.”

At a separate meeting with Tsai on Thursday, Akiko Santo, former president of the Japanese House of Councilors, expressed similar views, saying Taiwan will have Japan’s strong support in its efforts to take part in international organizations.

Santo, who is on a six-day visit to Taiwan from May 3-8, described Taiwan as a true friend to Japan as both sides have supported one another on various occasions.

Meanwhile, Tsai told Santo and her parliamentarian delegation that Taiwan would work with Japan and other democratic partners to promote the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

The delegation also includes Yasue Funayama, Aiko Shimajiri, and Eriko Imai, all of whom are members of the House of Councillors.

(By Joseph Yeh and Teng Pei-ju)