Some members of the Japanese Diet are seriously considering formalizing bilateral relations with its Asian neighbor, Taiwan, in light of the strained ties with China. Lawmakers are planning introduce a Japanese version of the Taiwan Relations Act that dictates U.S. relations with Taiwan, seeking to make current unofficial ties a formality.
Nobuo Kishi, the ,head of the Japan-Taiwan Young Parliamentary Association on Economic Exchange and younger brother of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, backs the creation of the law that would be “a basis for strengthening economic relations and personal exchange.” The Chinese have expressed its opposition to the idea and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said that China is “deeply concerned” by it. She added, “The Taiwan Question concerns China’s core interests. Whether Japan-Taiwan relations can be properly handled or not has a bearing on the political foundation of China-Japan relations.”
The proposed “Japanese Taiwan Relations Act” will be very different with the relationship Washington has with Taipei. Its western counterpart is known for the provision of U.S. armaments sale to Taiwan while Japan’s is focused solely on economic and cultural relations. Such a bill has been proposed by then-Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian in 2006, which covers the issue of security. Current president Ma Ying-jeou has not made any same calls but would focus on the economic aspect since Taiwan is Japan’s fifth-largest trading partner. Many are hoping that with the conclusion of such an agreement, Taiwan’s dependence on China will be lessened, earning another ally for Japan in the ongoing dispute with the Asian power.
[via The Diplomat]
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