TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hideaki Kaneda, a retired admiral from Japan’s maritime self-defense force, has called for a strategic partnership between Japan, the U.S., and Taiwan to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Delivering a keynote speech on strengthening national security for Taiwan and Japan at a forum held in Taipei on Saturday (Dec. 14), Kaneda said security across the Taiwan Strait was in the interest of the U.S. and Japan. Thus cooperation between the three countries, and even Australia and India, was essential, he said.
Despite not necessarily providing an immediate threat to the security of Taiwan, the retired admiral noted the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had long been preparing for military action against Taiwan. According to him, it has simulated attacks on the Presidential Office, strategic Taiwan ports, and even streets and neighborhoods of major Taiwan cities.
Kaneda suggested that Taiwan be included in the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training (HADR) of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), an international maritime warfare exercise regularly participated in by France, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, among other countries. The disaster relief drill would provide an opportunity for Taiwan to collaborate with other countries’ military forces, without Beijing being able to protest against what was essentially a humanitarian exercise, he said.
In addition, Kaneda said Taiwan and Japan should establish an agreement on preventing accidents at sea, as well as in the air, referring to similar deals Japan had signed with China and Russia. He said crisis management cooperation should be in place, and that there should be exchanges of information and intelligence among governments and in the private sector.
Genki Fujii, an analyst on Japan’s international issues, said in an earlier speech that China’s annexation of Taiwan would jeopardize the security of Japan. He said a partnership between Taiwan and Japan centered on military affairs was necessary, in response to China’s colonizing ambitions in the region — though he did not elaborate on how such a partnership could be realized.
Though the issue has not been discussed in Japan’s parliament, Fujii said advocacy groups had in recent years been promoting a Japanese version of the U.S.’ Taiwan Relations Act. He also observed that even though Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been cautious about his administration’s attitude to Taiwan, for fear of angering Beijing, the prime minister was more friendly toward the island nation than he appeared.
Fujii noted that Abe’s brother Nobuo Kishi, also a member of the Japanese parliament, had continued to promote ties between Taiwan and Japan. In an op-ed published in a Japanese political magazine this week, Kishi called for a security dialogue between Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S.