Japanese government backs Taiwanese request to attend WHO annual assembly. China boycotts Taiwan's presence in international forums. Former Japanese premier: increase military spending to respond to China's threats.
Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Japan's support for Taiwan, targeted by China's claim to sovereignty, is growing. In the "Blue Book" on diplomacy, presented today, the Japanese government openly supports Taipei's campaign to attend the World Health Organization (WHO) Assembly, scheduled for May 22 to 28.
China has always opposed the island's participation in the annual meeting of the WHO body, as in any other international body or forum because the Communist authorities consider the island is a "rebel province" that needs to be reabsored and has not excluded use of force.
Taipei was expelled from the WHO in 1972, after the People's Republic of China won its seat at the United Nations. Since then, the Taiwanese have only been able to participate in the work of the Assembly from 2009 to 2016 as observers, the period coincides with the presidency of pro-Beijing nationalist Ma Ying-jeou.
In the Blue Book, Japanese diplomats warn that the military balance in the Taiwan Strait is shifting increasingly in Beijing's favor. This is proven by the intensification of air and naval operations near the island.
In light of this, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for an increase in the national defense budget. Speaking yesterday at an event organized by the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, the ever-influential Abe said that Japan must increase military spending up to 2% of GDP to dissuade China from using force against Taiwan.
Abe added that the U.S. should review its "strategic ambiguity" toward Taiwan and clarify its commitment to the island's defense. With the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. promised to defend Taiwan, primarily with military supplies. Adopted in 1979 after formal diplomatic recognition of Communist China, the measure does not clearly specify whether Washington will respond to Chinese aggression against Taipei.
He also recalled that any Chinese attack on the U.S. during a crisis along the Taiwan Strait could pose an "existential threat" to Japan. In that case, Tokyo would have to exercise its right of "collective self-defense" and intervene as an ally of Washington.