Former Japanese Prime Minister warned that China’s invasion of Taiwan would be an ’emergency situation’ for Tokyo
A Chinese attack on Taiwan would be an emergency for Japan and for its alliance with the US, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has warned, hinting that an invasion could could meet the conditions for Tokyo to use force.
Abe said a Chinese invasion would lead to “economic suicide”, in a video address to a conference in Taiwan on Wednesday.
The remarks highlighted growing tensions across the Taiwan Strait and Japan’s shift to more outspoken support for Taipei.
“A military adventure is the path to economic suicide,” Abe said. “Certainly, China is huge. But because it has close ties to the global economy, a military adventure in Taiwan must have a serious impact on the global economy. In other words, China will be seriously hurt.”
Although Abe steps down as prime minister in 2020, he remains a powerful behind-the-scenes figure in the ruling Liberal Democratic party, especially on foreign affairs and national security.
Abe is known to be a strong supporter of Taiwan. In 2019, he stepped up military planning for a potential conflict around Taiwan or the disputed Senkaku Islands. The United States and Japan then conduct war games and joint military exercises in preparation for a possible clash with China over Taiwan.
“Taiwan’s emergency is Japan’s emergency. That is, this is an emergency for the US-Japan alliance,” Abe said. “It is imperative that the people of Beijing do not misjudge that, and especially President Xi Jinping.”
In response to the question, Abe then advocated for a tripartite security dialogue with Taiwan and the United States – something Japan has previously shied away from because of concerns about antagonizing China.
Abe’s comments are particularly significant because, under Article 9 of Japan’s pacifist constitution, asking Tokyo to take military action is a threat to the very existence of the country.
Taro Aso, then deputy prime minister, said in July that the state of emergency in Taiwan could lead to a “life-threatening situation” for Japan, in remarks carried by Japanese media. news. The comments suggest that Tokyo views the scenario of China attacking Taiwan as a potential case for military engagement. Abe’s latest comment comes closest to confirming that.
The former prime minister’s comments come as more and more countries are calling on China to refrain from belligerent moves towards Taiwan. The United States and some of its allies have suggested that they might step in to aid the country if it were attacked.
President Joe Biden recently said America will defend Taiwan against attack from China. His comments appeared to contradict a longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity,” in which Washington did not specify how it would respond.
The White House intervened to say that US policy had not changed but Biden made other controversial remarks about Taiwan. Biden told Xi in a virtual summit last month that the United States was “opposed to unilateral efforts to change the status quo” but described Taiwan as “independent” the next day.
Peter Dutton, Australia’s defense minister, said last month it was “Can not imagine” that his country would not support the US in its campaign to defend Taiwan against China.
Abe’s comments follow the Japanese cabinet’s decision last week to adopt it Additional defense spending package of $6.8 billion after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signaled concern about China’s rising power.
China sent a flurry of fighter jets and bombers into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone over the weekend, a tactic it has used to express anger at Taipei and a tactic that they did stepped up This year.