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Former Prime Minister Aso says Japan should be prepared to engage in Taiwan Strait conflict

Former Japanese prime minister, Taro Aso, warned on Monday that China’s claims over Taiwan will “definitely become an existential crisis situation” for Japan. He stated that Tokyo must be prepared to fight in the Taiwan Strait in the event of conflict to rescue its citizens. 

Aso, who is the 83-year-old vice president of the country’s Liberal Democratic Party, made these remarks as tensions are rising across the Taiwan Strait, according to Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. He pointed out that there are 20,400 officially registered Japanese citizens in Taiwan and emphasized the need to be prepared to fight in the Taiwan Strait using submarines and warships to rescue them in the event of war.

Aso’s remarks highlight the broader regional implications of any potential change in the political landscape in Taiwan. The upcoming presidential election in Taiwan could shape its future relationship with China and its stance on independence. China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory, has not ruled out the use of military force for occupation. This has led the United States to intensify its military drills with regional allies.

The future president of Taiwan will have a significant impact on easing or heightening tensions between major international powers. Aso’s comments align with the 2021 Japanese defense white paper, which for the first time said that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is linked to Japanese national security.

Aso and other Japanese leaders have signaled that Japan’s national security is closely linked to the fate of Taiwan. In the scenario of unprovoked military action by China against Taiwan, Aso suggested that it would be necessary for both the United States and Japan to intervene in Taiwan’s defense. Former prime minister Shinzo Abe also declared that “A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency,” further highlighting the importance of Taiwan to Japan’s national security.

Edited by Elaine Chan and Mike Firn.


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