Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has warned that a Ukraine-style armed conflict could break out in East Asia. He said that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is critical for Tokyo and the international community.
“We must collaborate with our allies and like-minded countries, and never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by the use of force in the Indo Pacific, especially in East Asia,” Kishida said during a meeting with his British counterpart Boris Johnson in London on Thursday.
“Ukraine may be East Asia tomorrow,” the Japanese PM added.
Kishida said Japan remains committed to the issues surrounding Taiwan, which Beijing wants to bring under its control, to be resolved through dialogue.
The island raised the alert level shortly after Russia attacked the neighboring country in late February. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu expressed hope on Saturday that China would be sanctioned if it threatens the island with force or invades it. Taiwan and China previously accused each other of stirring up tensions in the region.
Beijing dismissed the comparisons of Taiwan to Ukraine at the time as inappropriate. Responding to Kishida’s recent remarks on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “If the Japanese side is sincere about maintaining peace and stability in East Asia, then it should immediately stop provoking major-country confrontation.”
Okinawa Governor Calls for Japan to Reduce China Tensions, Wants Fewer US Military Bases
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki on Friday called on the Japanese government to ease tensions with China, warning that a war over Taiwan could make the island of Okinawa a target due to its heavy US military presence.
“Any escalation of problems over the Taiwan Strait and the contingency of Okinawa being a target of attack must never happen or be allowed to happen,” Tamaki told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
Japan has been following the US in its campaign against China and has been working on expanding its military and boosting security cooperation with other countries against Beijing. Tamaki said Japan should take a different approach.
“I call for the Japanese government to always maintain calm and peaceful diplomacy and dialogue to improve its relations with China, while working toward easing US-China tension,” he said. Tamaki pointed out that despite being only a small portion of Japan’s territory, Okinawa hosts the majority of US troops in the country. “Okinawa prefecture sought to become an island of peace and without bases. However, even today, despite the fact that Okinawa is a prefecture with only 0.6% of Japan’s total land, it hosts 70.3% of the total area dedicated to the US military,” he said.