TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s public support for Taiwan at a videoconference last week was inspired by concern over the Chinese crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported Tuesday (Aug. 3).
When he was in office, Abe was reluctant to choose sides, but Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s (習近平) willingness to face down international criticism over the repression in Hong Kong has brought about a major change in strategic thinking.
Japanese politicians see the danger posed by China and fear Beijing could repeat what it is doing to Hong Kong in Taiwan at a later date, according to the Bloomberg report.
Recent comments by serving and retired Japanese government officials have emphasized their concern about China’s increasing military aggressiveness on Taiwan, including the sending of aircraft into the country’s air defense identification zone.
Academics in China warned that the statements by Japanese leaders showed that the country’s stance on Taiwan had drastically changed, leading relations between Tokyo and Beijing to deteriorate, UDN reported.