TAIPEI – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told a visiting Japanese ruling party official that she welcomes Tokyo upgrading its security strategy, Kyodo News reported, comments that come as China asserts its military power in the region.
Ms Tsai said in a meeting with Mr Hiroshige Seko, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Upper House secretary-general, that Japan had shown its determination to maintain regional peace and stability, Kyodo reported on Wednesday.
Mr Seko is the first senior Japanese politician to visit Taiwan since the government unveiled a new national security strategy in December that called for a major hike in defence spending.
In the revamped documents, the government refers to China as an unprecedented challenge and vows to stockpile longer-range missiles that could hit naval bases on the country’s east coast.
A visit earlier in December by Mr Koichi Hagiuda, the highest ranking LDP official in two decades to make the trip while the party has been in office, was followed by China sending a sortie of 29 warplanes into the Taiwan Strait.
China usually increases the number of planes it sends into the strait after events that it deems provocative.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. Taiwan, however, rejects China’s sovereignty claims.
Japan broke off formal ties with Taiwan in 1972, but has maintained strong cultural and economic relations.
Tokyo’s recent assertions that Taiwan’s stability is closely linked to its own have been met with an angry response from Beijing.
Ms Tsai and Mr Seko also agreed to work together on Taipei’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership for regional trade.
Source: The Straits Times