A group of Japanese lawmakers, including two former defense ministers, met with Taiwan’s president on Thursday in a rare high-level visit to discuss regional security.
The delegation, led by lawmaker and former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba, said it wanted to reach an agreement with Taiwan on defense issues and prepare for a potential conflict, but stressed that it also wanted to avoid that possibility.
“We have to anticipate what kinds of situations may occur, what kinds of laws and agreements need to be prepared, and what kinds of weapons we will be able to use,” Ishiba said at the Presidential Office. “We have to work together to reach a consensus on this, before any eventuality.”
Ishiba noted that Japan is also closely cooperating with the United States to prevent a conflict from breaking out in the Indo-Pacific, saying the allies “have no choice” but to prepare.
Tensions in the region have been rising amid growing assertiveness from China, which claims the autonomous island of Taiwan as its territory and does not rule out annexing it by force if necessary.
The delegation was received by President Tsai Ing-wen and will also meet with Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the Executive Yuan — the executive branch of the Taiwanese government — and representatives of the Taiwanese Defense Ministry.
“Protecting Taiwan is not just protecting sovereignty. It is imperative also because, in the matter of strategic security, Taiwan is an extremely important line of defense as the closest island chain,” Tsai said.
“We will continue to deepen our cooperation with Japan and other democratic countries to safeguard peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
Ishiba was accompanied by three other Japanese lawmakers — Yasukazu Hamada, Akihisa Nakashima and Takayuki Shimizu — who are members of a cross-party political group focused on national security issues.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.