TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japan and the EU expressed their desire for peace in the Taiwan Strait in a joint statement Thursday (May 28).
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide held a virtual summit that morning with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel to discuss COVID-19 recovery, climate change challenges, emerging technologies, and bilateral relations. After the conference, the two parties issued a statement saying they were “seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas” and that they opposed unilateral attempts to change the status quo.
They also reiterated the importance they place on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues. Additionally, they reaffirmed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which maintains freedom of navigation and overflight.
This announcement marks the first time the leaders have commented on cross-strait relations, demonstrating their increasing concern over how unstable the situation has become. On May 21, the U.S. and South Korea made a similar joint statement on the strait, while Washington and Tokyo delivered another one in March.
The spotlight on the strait comes as China ramps up military activity in the area, including almost daily incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. Beijing also continues to block Taipei from participating in international organizations, including the World Health Organization.