Japan expresses concern over Chinese military drills near Taiwan

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Japan expresses concern over Chinese military drills near Taiwan

An aerial view of the U.S. Kadena Air Base that spans Kadena and other municipalities in Okinawa Prefecture. Eiji Hori Japan expressed concern over Chinese military drills that were scheduled to kick off Aug. 4 close to Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island territory and infuriated Beijing.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Aug. 3 that Tokyo communicated its concern through diplomatic channels beforehand as the area where the military exercises would be held includes Japan's exclusive economic zone EEZ We would like to urge a peaceful solution to cross-strait relations, Matsuno said, referring to exercises due to wind up Aug. 7.

Matsuno said that the Japanese government is not in a position to comment on Pelosi's visit, which Beijing views as meddling in its affairs. She arrived in Taiwan on August 2.

Our country s constant stance is that we expect all issues concerning Taiwan to be resolved peacefully through dialogue, Matsuno said.

The foreign ministers of Japan and China were expected to meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting that started Aug. 3 in Cambodia.

Japanese officials are groping for ways to improve relations with China ahead of a ceremony in September to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They made clear they hoped that Pelosi's visit to Taiwan will not get in the way.

A senior Foreign Ministry official said it is important for the international community to stand united in its dealings with China so that the country will not escalate tensions. We are closely monitoring the situation. Pelosi will visit Japan soon.

According to a government source, she will meet with Lower House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

In a related development, a surge in U.S. military activity was observed in Okinawa Prefecture, where the bulk of U.S. military bases are located in Japan.

The Defense Ministry's Okinawa Defense Bureau noted that more U.S. military aircraft than usual are flying into the southernmost prefecture.

It said 22 KC-135 refueling aircraft, not normally stationed at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Kadena, Okinawa Prefecture, were spotted there as of 4 p.m. on Aug. 2.

According to a fisheries cooperative in Yonagunijima island in Okinawa Prefecture, the closest point in Japan to Taiwan, the Japan Coast Guard contacted the organization on August 3 to inform them of the impending exercises.

Shigenori Takenishi, head of the cooperative, said that they were trying to warn their fishing fleets. If a Chinese ship collides with other ships unexpectedly, we will face an unprecedented situation and heightened concern.