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Japan's No. 2 says nation could take military action if China invades Taiwan

Deputy prime minister says Taiwan situation becoming 'extremely intense'

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Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro.

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro on Monday (July 5) said that Tokyo may take action if China invades Taiwan.

While delivering a speech in Tokyo, Taro stated, “If a major incident happened [in Taiwan], it would not be strange at all if it touches on a situation threatening survival,” per Nikkei Asia. He added, “If that is the case, Japan and the U.S. must defend Taiwan together.”

The deputy prime minister mentioned that “the situation over Taiwan is becoming extremely intense,” pointing to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping’s (習近平) comments last week regarding Taiwan.

Xi had delivered a speech on July 1 commemorating the CCP’s centennial, saying that unification with Taiwan “is a historic and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China” and that China must take “resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward Taiwan independence.”

Taro’s statement follows Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo’s remark on June 25 that Taiwan’s security is directly linked to that of Japan. In an interview with Bloomberg, Nobuo said, “The peace and stability of Taiwan are directly connected to Japan, and we are closely monitoring ties between China and Taiwan as well as Chinese military activity.”

He also said that increased cross-strait tensions have become a threat to Japan. “As China strengthens its military, its balance with Taiwan is tipping heavily to the Chinese side.”

Meanwhile, the largest annual U.S.-Japan military exercise, Orient Shield, began on June 24. This year’s training event, which wraps up July 11, is the 36th iteration of an exercise that aims to “enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations,” according to the Orient Shield Facebook page.

Japan Defense Minister Kishi Nobu tweeted that approximately 3,000 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) troops will participate in the drills alongside soldiers from the U.S. Army 40th Infantry Division and U.S. Army-Japan.

Additionally, Tokyo and Washington released a joint statement in April that highlighted peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues. Beijing’s increasingly belligerent behavior in the Taiwan Strait has become a primary concern for Japan, as demonstrated by Tokyo’s recent actions.